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Henby S. King & C!o. 

65 CoRMBiLL & 12 Paternostxb Row, LottSOK 


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cofv\^ <m 

{All rights reserved) 

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The following volume of travel treats of a land which 
has been described by some of the most distinguished 
authors of the present day, as well as by many an accom- 
plished and enthusiastic explorer who has now reached 
that world * from whose bourn no traveller returns/ 

In thus venturing to come after those whose works are 
read wherever Uterature has found a home, I may be per* 
mitted briefly to mention how I chanced to form one of 
that ever-increasing band who have been attracted to the 
glowing East, with its days of dazzling sunshine and 
nights of dreamy repose. As I was early brought up to a 
most prosaic and matter-of-fact profession, which fully 
occupied my time, I had no opportunity of indulging a 
long cherished wish to visit the enchanted regions of the 
* Arabian Nights,* until two years ago.. An illness having 
caused a break in the continuity of my business career, 

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I thought that a tour in the East would be a pleasant and 
profitable mode of passing a portion of my time. 

Accordingly I started on these travels, and can cor- 
dially recommend my readers to follow my example. In 
addition to the usual Nile trip, I would strongly advise a 
tour to Mount Sinai to be made, when the travellers can 
survey the profoundly interesting scenery which character- 
ises the route of the Israelites after they left the land of 
bondage. If possible, and provided that they care to 
encounter the trouble, risk, and expense involved, the 
journey to Petra should be attempted. I assume, in this 
case, that the travellers have a certain amount of tact and 
coolness, most usefiil qualities if the lawless denizens of 
the capital of Edom are inclined to molest them. They 
must, however, be prepared for tedious delays and other 
unpleasant contingencies ; and if they go to Petra, the 
Eastern route, by the Wady el-Ithm, ought certainly to 
be selected. One of the party should know something 
of geology, so that the remarkable and unique featiures of 
the rocks and moimtains may be duly appreciated. 

The ensuing pages are based upon a carefiil record of 
each day's journey, that was kept by me in the form of a 
diary. Working upon these materials, which, however 
imperfect, were at all events written at the time and on 

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the spotj it has been my aun to present an accurate and 
trustworthy narrative of Travel. The Bible Student may 
perchance distinguish a very few fitful gleams cast upon 
the boundless ocean of Truth contained in the inspired 
volume of Scripture. Those mighty depths assuredly will 
never be fathomed by mortal plummet ; but oh I that the 
blessed time may soon come, when incense and a pure 
worship shall be ofiered unto the Lord from the rising 
to the setting sun, ani the knowledge of God shall over- 
spread the earth even as the waters cover the sea. 

W. C. Maughak, 


October 8, 1873. 

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Brindisi to Alexandria— Joaroej to Cairo—Climate of S^ypt — ^Ezpenses of 
Kile Trip by Dahabeah and Steamer — Particnlara of Dahabeahs— Time to 
make the Voyage— Different Routes from Egypt to Holy Land — Expense of 
complete Tour in the East — Cost of living per Day — Shepheard's Hotel — 
Scene in Front of Hotel — ^Donkeys and their Attendants — Street Scenes, 
Cairo— Population of Cairo — ^View from Citadel — ^The Sights of Cairo — 
The Pyramids — ^Pyramids of Sakkara and Serapeum — ^Memphis — Heliopolis 
and Obelisk— The Virgin's Well and Sycamore Tree — ^Museum at Boulao— 
Palaces of the Viceroy — Shoubra Palace and Gardens — Oriental Luxury 
and Magnificence — Oezeereh Palace and Grounds — The Khedive — His 
Mode of Government — His Extravagance — The Opera — The Horse Races, 
their Absurdity and pernicious Effect — ^Life in Cairo — ^Promenades and 
Amusements — The Viceroy's Political System ...»,.! 



The Nile — Its r&re Charms and Scenery — Our Passengers and Steamer — Scene 
at Starting — Requisites for a Voyage on the Nile — Pictures from Deck of 
St«amer — ^The Nile by Moonlight — Our Mode of Life — Benisooef, its Trade 
— ^Boats on River — ^Minieh and its Sugar Factory — ^Meeting the Viceroy — 
Tombs of Beni Hassan — Their great Age — Sioot and its Sights — Fine View 
from the ClifiJB — Egyptian Pottery — School for Young Gentlemen — Bi^ds 
seen on Banks — ^Machines for Irrigation, Shadoof, Sakia — ^Meeting with 
down Steamer — Lovely After-glow — Running on Sand-banks — Eeneh and 
the Dancing Girls — Temple of Dendera — Grandeur of Remains — ^Portrait of 

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Cleopatra — ^Thebes and iU Colossal Ruins — ^Luzor, its Obelisks — Earnak — 
The Great Hall — Vast Ruins — Scene by Moonlight — ^Luncheon in the 
Ruins — ^The * Dinner Bell' — Meeting with Friends — Mustapha Aga — 
Templef on opposite Side of River — Medinet Habou — The Memnonium — 
Gigantic Statue of Rameees — Dean Stanley's Remarks on it — ^Meeting with 
Grand-Duke of Mecklenburgh — ^The Colossi of the Plain — ^Vocal Memnon 
— Tombs of the Kings, marvellous Interiors — Curious Drawings — View of 
the Plain of Thebes 25 



Assouan — Scene on Landing— Dancing Girls — The Cataract-rRide to Phils 
— Beautiful Ruins — ^View fix)m Temple — Island of Elephantine — ^Homeward 
Voyage — Quarries of Silsillis— Mr. Glaze's Tourist Party — Deserted Look of 
Quarries — Esneh— Splendid Columns — Sights in the Town — Coaling Steamer 
— The * Southern Cross ' Constellation — ^Edfou — Grandeur of its Temple 
— Description of Interior — The Viceroy again — Road-making — ^Ruins of 
Abydus — ^Ancient Hieroglyphics — ^The famous Stone Tablet — Passing 
Memphis — ^Agreeable Excursion to examine the Ruins — ^Return to Boulac 
— Reflections on past Grandeur of £|gypt — The Exodns of the Israelites . 57 



Preparations for the Journey — Selecting a Dragoman — Their Terms — Our 
Dragoman — ^Achmet el-Fichawi — Provisions and Stores to take — Clothing 
and Books requisite — ^My Travelling Companions — Start from Cairo for 
Ismailia — ^The Grand- Duke again — Sights of Ismailia — ^Lake Timsah — 
Sues Canal — Its Dimensions — State of the Banks— Sail up the Canal — 
Kantara — ^Arrival at Suez — Scenes in the Streets — ^Arab Festival — The Red 
Sea — View at Sunset — Eotranee of Canal-^tart for Sinai — Commencement 
of Desert — Stillness and Desolation — Ayiin Musa WeUs — Tent Life — Our 
Table^hSte—The Desert by Moonlight— Early Start in the Morning— Wady 
S(idr — ^A Shower of Rain — ^Fountain of Marah — Charms of Desert Life— 
Wady Gh^rundel, 'Elim ' of the Bible— Russian Pilgrims— Wady Taiyibeh 
— ^Precipitous Rocks — The Sea again — ^Plain of MurkhAh— Entrance of Wady 
Shellal — Strange Scenery — Sunday in Desert — ^Remarkable Gt)rge — Nukb 
B4derah — Jebal Gineh — French Turquoise Hunters — ^Wady Mokatteb— Its 
Sinaitic Inscriptionfi — ^Wady Feiian — Profound Desolation of the Wadys — 

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Bzcepti<m in ease of Wad j Feirui — Its Palm Treef — ^Aaeent of Hoont 
Serbal — Great Heat — Toilsome Nature of the Ascent — Eitraordinary 
Grandenr of View firom Sammit — Impressions it prodaced on as — Former 
Asoente by Trarellers — The Descent — ^Losing oar Way — Wadj esh-Sheikh 
—The * Pbss of the Winds '—First View of Mount Sinai— Plain of BAh^h— 
Entrance to Convent • .... 73 


Description of Conrent — Occopations of Monks — Chapels — Chapel of the 
Transfiguration — Its Interior — Old Mosaics — Relics of St. Catherine of 
Alexandria — Splendid Silver Sarcophagi — Chapel of Burning Bush — ^Library 
— Chamel House — The (harden, its Beauty — ^Disciplme of Monks — Pilgrims 
and Trayellers to the Convent — ^Ascent of Mount Sinai — Its Height — Fine 
View fh)m Summit — The Sufa^eh and Horeb— Reflections on the Solemn 
Associations of the Spot — ^Mount St. Catherine — ^Impressive View of Sinai 
by Moonlight — ^Identification of Sinai with the 'Sacred Mountain as des- 
scribed in the Exodus — ^Burckhardt — His Account of the Convent and 
Monks — Their Relations with the Bedawin — Description of Peninsula of 
Sinai — ^The Tribes— The Tawarah and Branch Tribes — Costume, Numbers 
and Character — ^Porter^s Description of Marriage Customs — ^A truant Bride 
and pursuing Bridegroom — Our Experience of the Tawarah • • .103 


Dragoman proposes to go to Petra — Our Difficulties on the Subject — Necessity 
for having Gbld — A Banking Operation with the Monks — Oood-bye to the 
Monks — The Campanile and peculiar Gong — ^Departure for Akabah — ^Wady 
esh-Sheikh— Tomb of Sheikh— Slow Progress of Arabs— Wady Sal— Fine 
Mountain View — Kibroth Hattaavah of the Israelites — Strange Character 
of Rocks— The 'Pilgrims' Mount'— Grand Scenery of Wady Ghus&leh— 
Variety of Rocks — Hazeroth one of the Stations of the Israelites — Impres*> 
sion made by the Great Rocks — ^Wady el-Ain — Beautiful Crystal Spring — 
Magnificent 6k>rge8 — Death-like Stillness prevailing— Sight of the Gulf of 
Akabah — ^Description of Close of Day's Journey — The Camels, their strange 
Ways — Different Breeds— Cost of a Camel — Powers of Endurance— Roach 
the Gulf of Akabah— its Solitary Aspect— Beauty of its Shores — ^Rare 
Shells and Corals— Mode of Fishing with Net — ^Wonders of the Shore, and 
the Marine Architecture— Camping Ground by the Sea — ^Lovely Colouring 

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on the Water — Meeting with our Messenger — Iiotter from Sheikh Mo- 
hammed — Evening Scene — Our Tawarah Attendants — Bathing in the Gulf 
— Sharks— Steep Pass — Island of Kureiyeh — Laborde's Visit to it— Well- 
Bted's Visit — ^His Description of Island and Rains — Their luiccessibilitjr 
— Wady Tabah— Head of the Gulf and Glimpse of Akabah . . .126 



The Gulf of Akabah — Its History and Shores — ^The ancient Ezion-Geber 
— Nations who occupied it^— Appearance of Town and Castle — ^Locusts — 
Description of Castle — The Mecca Caravan — ^Its Surroundings and the 
Pilgrims — ^Burdchardt's Account of Caravan — Our Arrival and Visitors — 
Preliminary Negotiations — Great Heat — Visit to the Governor — ^Arrival of 
the Sheikh and his Brothers — Our Conference as toPetra — Picturesqueness 
of the Scene — Cost of the Expedition — Heavy Backsheesh — Our Tawarah 
Escort leave us — The Bedawin — ^Their Characteristics — The Aenezes — 
Mode of Marching — Tents — Drees — Arms — Food — ^Mode of Eeceiving 
Guests — Industries — ^Religion of the Tribes — ^Marriage Customs— Divorces 
— Women— Their Hard Lot— Hospitality of the Bedawin— Principles of 
Government — The S)ieikh— Arab Justice — Laws of Inheritance — ^Blood 
Revenge •»»••*. 158 



Intense Heat at Akabah — Male and Female Palm-trees — Our Departure for 
Petra — Route of the Israelites — ^Wady Arabah — ^Entrance to Wady el-Ithm 
— Jebel Badiy — ^Barren Character of Scenery — ^Ruined Fort — Curious Rocks 
— Fine Mountains in Distance— Wady Heemeh— Watershed— El-Guerrah — 
Departure of Sheikh Mohammed — The Alawin — Sunday in the Plain — 
Singular Remains of Temple — Sand Storm — Carious Chamber hewn in the 
Rock — Sinaitic Inscriptions — Great Ruins of Humeiyiimeh — Description 
and Dimensions of some of Remains — Remarkable Fall in the Land and 
Gorges beyond— Storm of Wind and Rain— Old Well— Fine Torf- Mount 
Seir — ^Extraordinary Rocks and Clefts — Mount Hor — Reservoir for Water — 
Cold Temperature — ^Wonderful Colouring of Rocks near Petra — Wady 
MAsa— E^y — Description of Arabia Petnea— History of Idumea^-The 
Horites— The Maccabees- The Nabatheans— The Romans— The Trade 
with India— The Crusaders — Re-discovery of Petra by Burckhardt — The 
Riflks he ran — Other Travellers — Connection between Petra and Eadesh . 187 

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C05TEKTS xiii 


EntraDce to Wady MiUa— Tombs— The Stk Vallej— Remains of Tomb*^ 
Eztiaordinaiy Chftiacter of the Defile — Wonderful Colonrmg of Rocks-^ 
Aqueduct for supplying Petra^First View of the Khnineh — ^Its Exquisite 
Beau^ — ^Description of the Monoment^Scolptares and Friesee — The 
Theatre— Fine View from it — ^Meditation on Strangeness of the Scene— 
The Main Range of Tombs— ^tjle of Decorations— Tints of the Rock — ^The 
Corinthian Tomb — Tomb with Three Tiers of Colomns — Great Variety of 
and Extent of Tombs — Ruins of the City— Banks of the Stream — Pha- 
raoh's Pftlaoe — ^Annoyanoe we suffered from Fellaheen — Danger of taking 
Relics from them — Return to our Camp— Crowds of Arabs — Their Angry 
Bearing — The Khuzneh again — Tumult among the Fellaheen — Anxious 
Kight spent by us — Morning in Petra — ^Affairs smoothed over — Our March 
resumed — ^The Acropolis and Tombs — Arrival of Principal Sheikh of 
Petra — ^We again Encamp for Night — El-Deir — Description of it — Exten- 
sive View — Olject of the Structure — Our Guides disappear — Ibex Hunting 
— ^Return to Camp— The superior Appearance of our New Visitors — The 
Prince of Wales — ^Mount Hor — ^Aaron's Tomb — Reflections upon the Tombe 
and Ruins of Petra — Its Desolation apd Rnin .*.... 208 



Final Departure from Petra — Sheikh not pleased — ^Very steep Descent to 
Wady Arabah — ^DoubtAil Land — Decide |o push on during Night — Stillness 
of our March— Ain el-Weibeh — Its Identity with Eadesh — Importance of 
Kadesh as a Station of the Israelites — Uninteresting Scenery- The Suf4h 
Pass — Its Breakneck and Fatiguing Character — View from Summit of 
TaBB — ^Approach to Holy Land — Reflections on Desert Tour — Meeting with 
Arabs — Another Moonlight March — Extreme Caution of our Movements — 
Enter Judsa— Entire Change in Character of Scenery- BeautiAil Wild 
Flowers— Approach to Hebron — ^Lose our Way— Arrival at the Town — 
Valley of Eschol — Ancient Date of Town — Its History — Large Reservoirs 
— Jewish Lodging-house — ^Indifferent OuiHne — Cave of Macphelah — Glass 
Works — Departure of Alawin Escort — Start for Jerusalem — Abraham's 
Oak — Hill Country of Judsea — Pools of Solomon — ^Their great Sise and 
massive Construction — Sight of Bethlehem — Rachel's Tomb— Conyent of 
Mar Elias— First View of the Holy City — Emotions it caused us— Histo- 
risal Retrospect . . • , 240 

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XIV coirrENTS 




Entrance to City — Look for Apartments — The Bishop of Jerusalem — ^Anglican 
Church and Worship— Other Services — Charitable Institutions — ^Population 
of Jerusalem — The Jews — ^Their Sects — ^The Christians — Greeks — ^Ar- 
menians — ^Latins — and other Sects — ^Tour of the City — Jaffii Chite — Chris- 
tian Quarter — ^Damascus Gate — ^Mohammedan Quarter — ^Valley of Jehosha- 
phat — ^Pool of Bethesda — St. Stephen's (Jate — ^Massiye Walls — ^The Haram 
— Site of Solomon's Temple — The Golden Gat^ — ^Brook Eedron — Large 
Stones — Tombs in Valley of Jehoshaphat — ^Tyropoeon Valley — ^Mount 
Zion — Lepers — ^Armenian Convent — ^Interior of Church — ^Pilgrims' Service 
— English Church — ^Via Dolorosa — Jews' Place of Wailing — ^Pool of Siloam 
— ^Tomb of Absalom — (harden of Gethsemane — ^Mount Moriah — ^Mosque of 
Omar — ^Description of Interior — ^Threshing-floor of Araunah — ^Mosque El- 
Aksa — ^Ride to Bethlehem — Church of the Nativity — ^Interior — The Manger 
— Church of the Holy Sepulchre — ^Its History — Sights outside the Church 
— The Rotunda and Dome — ^The Sepulchre — ^Mount Calvary — I^rotestant 
Bnrying-ground — ^Tombs of the Kings — ^Mount of Olives — Chapel of the 
Princess De la Tour d'Auvergne — ^Tombs of the Prophets — ^Excursion to 
Jericho and Dead Sea— ^^ Addition to our Party — ^Kne View of the Plains 
of Jordan — ^Lai^e Number of Tents — The Plains of Jordan — ^The River — 
The Dead Sea—A Salt-water Bath— Great Influx of Water to the Lake- 
Ascend the Mountains — ^The Grave of Moses — Bethany «... 260 


Start from Jerusalem— Neby Samwil^Bethel— Hill Conntzy of Bei^jamin — 
A in Yebrfld— The Robbers' Fountain — Sii^il — Shiloh— The Tabernacle set 
up here — Ancient Remams — Road to Nablons — Hawara — ^Plain of Shechem 
—View of Hermon — Ascent of Mount Gerizim — Site of Samaritan Temple 
^-Samaritan Feast of the Passover — Origin of the Samaritans— Shechem — 
The Modem Nablous — ^Very Ancient Copy of the Pentateuch — Creed of the 
Samaritans — Jacob's Well — Deep Interest of this Spot— Enter the Town — 
Our Camping Place— BeautiM Gardens and Trees — ^Fine Situation of 
Nablous — Samaritan Synagogue — ^Visit from a Syrian Missionary — Account 
of his Work — Samaria— Its Situation and History — Sieges and Miraculous 
Events which took place — Church of St. John the Baptist — Remains of. 
Herod's Temple— View from Samaria — ^Plain of Sharon — ^The 'Drowning 
Meadow ' — A Troublesome Chieftain — ^First View of Esdraelon — Jenin — 
The Great Plain of Esdraelon — ^Description and History — Scene of some of 

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Israers Momentous ConflicUi — Grand Aifeociationa — Jecreel — Mount Cannel 
— Qilboa^-Scene of the Death of Sanl — Village of Shnnem—Nain— Meet- 
ing with Americans — Mount Tabor — Steep Ascent — Ruins on Summit — 
Noble View fnm Top of Mountain — Approach to Nazareth — ^ArriTe at Town 
— New Protestant Church — ^ReY. Mr. Zeller— Sunday at Nasareth— Mount 
of Precipitaiion — Church of the Annunciation — Fountain of the Virgin — 
Pretty Jewish Maidens — Their Peculiar Costume — Extensire View from 
Nazareth — ^Visit f^m Rev. Mr. Zeller — Misgoyemment by the Turks — Taxes 
and Tribute — Eefr Eenna, reputed Cana of Galilee-— Scene of the Miracle 
— Horns of Hattin — First Sight of Sea of Galilee — ^Its deserted and lone 
Aspect — ^Description of Tiberias-^Its History — ^Hot Springs — Camp near 
the Lake — Stroll through the Town — Jewesses sewing — Journey along 
Shores of the Lake — Exquisite Beauty of the Flowers — Magdala — Sites of 
Capernaum, Bethsaida, and Chorasin — Khan Minyeh identified with Caper- 
naum — Beautiftil Fountain — ^Khan Jubb Tusuf — Last View of Galilee — 
Wfld Flowers— Storks— The Jordan and Lake Huleh— Ain Mellihah— 
Heary Rain— Hills of Eadesh Naphtali— Buffiiloes Ploughing— The Lark- 
Soldiers' Tents — Cross the Jordan — Tell el-Kady — One Source of the 
Jordan — Dan — Its History — English Park Scenery — Arriral at Banias — 
Interesting Ruins of Cesarea I^lippi — ^Main Source of the Jordan — ^His- 
tory of Banias — Castle of Snbeibeh — Its Immense Size and Strength — Fine 
View on the Upper Plains of Jordan and Lake Huleh — Handsome Druse 
Girls — ^Ascend Shoulder of Hermon — Er-Ram — View of Part of Plain of 
Damascus and the Hauran — ^Beit Jenn — The River Pharpar — Kefr Hauwar 
— Artuz — Richness of the Chodens and Foliage near Damascus — Entrance 
to the City 286 



Matchless Situation of the City — Its History and Antiquity — The Capital of 
the Mohammedan Empire — Turks conquer it— Massacre of 1860— Dread- 
ful Scenes — Christian Missions — English Church Service — Population of 
City — The Pasha— Trade — Buildings — Travelling by Diligence— Dimitri's 
Hotel— The Bazaars — Their Variety— Scenes of Oriental Life — Shawl and 
Silk Merchants — Silversmiths and other Handicraftsmen — ^The Castle— 
The Great Plane Tree — Court of the Hotel— Visit to the Great Mosque — 
Fine Interior — Lovely View from Minaret of Mosque — ^Description of a 
Private House — The British Consul — ^Visit to Jewish Wedding Entertain- 
ment — Animated Scene outside — Brilliant Interior of House — Good Music 
— Dress of Ladies — A Pas 8etU — ^Bride's Presents — Sunday in Damascus — 
Environs of City— Other Sights — Start for Baalbec— The Barada — Bey- 

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rout Road — Ain Fijeh — Noble Fountain — The Ancient Abila — ^Wady 
Barada — Meeting with Americans — Sorghaja — ^The Lebanon Ranges — 
First Sight of Baalbeo — Grandeur of the Ruins — History of Baalbec — 
Interior of the Temples — Thflir Colossal Site — Temple of the Sun — ^Dimen- 
sions — Huge Columns-^The Six Grand Columns of Temple of Baal — ^Por- 
tico of Temple of the Sun — The Effects of an Earthqufkke— Interior of 
Temple — ^Its Dimensions — ^The Celebrated Three Great Stones — The 
Ruins by Moonlight — ^ViUage of Baalbec — Company in the Ruins — An 
Austrian Prince and Princess — ^Meeting with Mr. Sim — Last View of the 
Ruins — ^The Quarry — Huge Block still remaining — ^Flain of BukAa — 
Muallakah — ^Zahleh, Principal Town in the Lebanon — Druses and Maro- 
nites — ^Religion of the Druses — Its Origin — Numbers of Tribe — ^Maronites 
— ^Their History — Their Religion and Doctrines — Conventa — Poptilation — 
Character of the Maronites — Stoorar— Diligence Station — ^Kubb Elias — 
Retrospect of Our Tour— View of Hermon — ^Approach to Beyrout — ^Exten- 
sive View — Beyrout — Population — Commerce — Harbour — Steam-boat Com- 
panies — ^Banks — History of Beyrout — Silk — Mulberry Trees — Rides about 
the City — Charitable and Religious Institutions — Syrian Protestant 
College— British Syrian Schools — Schools of the Church of Scotland — ^Rev, 
Mr. Robertson — New Oriental Hotel — Friends from Scotland — Excursion 
to * Dog River '—Ride along the Shore — The River — ^Tablets on the Rocks 
— Assyrian and Egyptian Inscriptions — Rameses the Great— Latin Inscrip* 
tions— Visit to Bankers— Bazaars of Beyrout — Iced Drinks — Sunday at 
Beyrout — Church of American Mission — Embarkation in Austrian Lloyd's 
Steamer — Turmoil on Board — Take Leave of Our Dragoman — Lovely 
Evening— Farewell to the East— Conclusion 327 

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Eably in the morning of January 2, 1872, 1 set sail firom the 
dnQ, sleepy port of Brindisi in an Italian steamer, the ^ Prin- 
cipe Tomaso/ for Alexandria, which place we reached on 
Friday, the 5th, about mid-day, after a most agreeable 
voyage, though the steamer was much inferior in size to 
the ^ Poonah,' a P. & O. vessel which sailed and arrived much 
about the same time that we did. She was a comfortable 
boat, the cudaine excellent, and the captain and officers most 
attentive. The difference in passage-money between the 
two steamers {SI.) may be considered by many an advantage. 
There were but few passengers: only two young English 
cavalry officers and myself,'a charming American family, and 
two foreigners. One day the sea was very rough and our 
steamer roUed unpleasantly, but in the agreeable society of 
our two fair American friends we made light of the dreaded 
horrors of sea-sickness. 


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Alexandria has but few attractions to detain tourists 
anxious to push on to see the wonders of that mysterious 
river, the discovery of whose sources has been claimed by 
one traveller after another, until the illustrious Livingstone 
would appear to be the true finder. Neither can the hotels 
be considered as offering many inducements to delay one's 
progress ; Abbat's and the European are about the best, though 
this is not saying much. Pompey's Pillar and Cleopatra's 
Needle can be done in a couple of hours, and most people 
care to see little else. I was indebted to the courtesy of the 
Eev. Dr. Yule, of the Scotch Church, for some valuable hints 
as to my future progress. 

Our train left Alexandria at 2.15 p.m., and about sunset 
we were half-way from Cairo, stopping at a station called 
Kafr Zayat, where we got some delicious coffee. It was 
pleasant to look out of the carriage-windows and see the 
strange pictures of oriental life now presented to view for 
the first time. The numerous water-wheels irrigating the 
land; the long strings of camels and picturesque figures 
seated on them; the vivid green fields with strange kinds 
of oxen and birds feeding in them ; the distant minarets, 
and groves of palms against the evening sky ; the delicate 
yellow, crimson, and gold * afterglow * — all the features of 
which one had so often read in books of travel. 

Cairo was reached at 8 o'clock, and here was the usual 
scene of confusion and noise at the crowded railway station. 
However, I handed my luggage-ticket to the porter of Shep- 
heard's Hotel, who soon extracted my portmanteau and bag 

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from amidst the multitadinous masses of packages lying 
about. I had the omnibus all to myself, and we dashed along 
at a slashing pace till the well-known hotel was reached, 
where I fonnd several friends from Scotland. The polite 
Mr. Bapp, who acts as secretary to the proprietor, Mr. Zech, 
soon fonnd me a room looking on to the cool and quiet garden, 
which forms a charming feature of the hotel. 

As Cairo is the head-quarters of tourists who prc^KXM 
going up the Nile, and thence taking their departure for the 
Desert or the Holy Land, I will here give a few hints which 
may be serviceable for intending travellers. For an invalid 
who wishes to enjoy the delightful climate of the Nile and 
does not intend to pursue his journey into the Holy Land, 
the month of November is an excellent time to arrive in 
Egypt. The temperature of Cairo during that month stands 
from about .60° to 70° Fahrenheit at 9 A.M., and at 2 p.m. 
stands between 70° and 76°. There is only an occasional 
shower of rain at Cairo, and up the Nile it is almost un- 
known. During December and the first half of January the 
nights and mornings on the Nile are often very cold, but the 
days are bright and warm. It is therefore well to have some 
warm clothing, but it is needless encumbering oneself with 
the host of miscellaneous articles recommended by outfitting 

The old-fashioned mode of Nile travel by the slow and luxu- 
rious dahabeah is, of course, most suitable for an invalid, to 
whom it is of consequence to spend all the winter in the balmy 
atmosphere of Egypt. From Cairo to the first cataract and 

u 2 

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back, in fayonrable weather, will occupy from sixty to seventy 
days, and another twenty days nmy easily be spent above the 
cataract. From 3502. to 400Z. is a moderate charge for a 
party of four persons, including everything except wine and 
other liquors, for the voyage from Cairo to the first cataract 
and back. This is for a fair-sized and ordinarily-furnished 
dahabeah, but when a large and handsomely fitted-up boat 
is hired, the price is much higher. For a medium-sized boat, 
suitable for four or five persons, from 602. to 802. per month 
is the usual price; a large one, for seven or eight persons, costs 
1002. or 1102. A very common size of dahabeah contains 
three single bed-cabins, a saloon for meals, and a stem cabin, 
which nmy be used as a sitting or best cabin. Those prices, 
of course, are exclusive of provisions for the travellers, but 
cover everything else. In the latest" edition of Murray's 
* Handbook for Egypt * the following prices are given : * A 
good dragoman will probably ask for taking four persons by 
the trip to the first cataract and back, with an allowance of 
ten or fiifteen days' stoppages, from 4002. to 4502. ; to the 
second cataract and back, with an allowance of twenty days' 
stoppages, from 4502. to 5002.' ^ 

* Through the coorteBy of Mr. David Bobertson, of Glasgow, at whose branch 
establishmeDts in Alexandria and Cairo trarellers will find newspapers, periodicals, 
the most recent volumes of travel, and wiU receive every attention, I am indebted 
for the following information : 

There are about IfiO dahabeahs on the Nile, mostly owned by natives, and built 
of wood. Some are of iron, and these are owned by Europeans, and frequently 
preferred to the others. 

The trips to the Upper Kile usually begin about the end of October, and con- 
tinue till the end of January. The trip to the second cataract for four persons, 

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But as this rolume is specially intended for those to whom 
time is of consequence, and who are anxious to see as much 
of the East as is practicable in a few months, I will gi^e 
some details more applicable to such travellers. Suppose 
the programme to be a voyage up the Nile as far as the first 
cataract, back to Cairo, thence vid the peninsula of Sinai to 
the Gulf of Akabah and Petra, and so on to the Holy Land, 
and home by Constantinople ; the time allowed should be 
about four months and a half. This was the route which I 
took, and I would strongly recommend it, as the whole 
scenery of the Sinaitic peninsula is of the grandest nature, 
while the journey to Petra is full of interest. The time 
occupied in the Nile portion of the tour will be three weeks, 
taking the steamers which start every fortnight from Boulao 
to Assouan and back, commencing in November. The charge 
for the voyage, including food, service, donkeys, and Idch' 
sheesh, but exclusive of wine, is 44Z. per head, paid in gold 
at Shepheard's Hotel, Cairo, to the agent of the steamers. 
Care should be taken to secure, if possible, a steamer which 
gives a separate cabin to each person, as the most of them 

allowing eighteen days to stop at yarions places, costs abont 210/. sterling, and 
oecQpies usually sixty-four days. For eight persons the charge is 820/., and for 
ten persons, 500/. sterling. Dahabeahs hired per month, cost 50/. sterling for two 
persons, and for ten persons 160/. sterling. 

Those prices vary accordingly to furniture and quality of dahabeah, but those 
quoted are for good dahabeahs. If there be a pianoforte on board, an extra charge 
is made. At the end of the journey there is, of course, the usual backshesah to the 
master and crew. The prices named include all charges for the boat except the 
backsheesh. Separate anangements as to food, liquors, &;c., will require to bo 
made if a dragoman is not engaged. 

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hare cabins with double berths, which are not so agreeable. 
A dragoman accompanies each party, which generally con- 
sists of from sixteen to twenty persons, and he arranges the 
excursions on shore. The living on board is not bad, though 
it might be improred, consisting of tea or cofiPee with bread 
in the morning, a substantial meat lunch about mid-day, 
dinner at 6 p.m., and tea with biscuits at 9 p.m. 

The steamer stops three days at Thebes, a day and a half 
at Assouan, and six or eight hours at most of the other 
places of interest on the rirer. Of course, this is a verj* 
hurried way of seeing the Nile, but it has immense advantages 
over the tedious delays to which the dahabeahs are exposed, 
although they give much more time to examine the temples 
and tombs. 

If it is intended to proceed to Sinai after the Nile trip, the 
atter had better be delayed till January, because the middle 
of February is sufficiently early for a start on the track of 
the Israelites from Egypt. There are several modes of pro- 
ceeding to the Holy Land. First. Starting fix)m Suez to 
Mount Sinai and returning to the same port, which, including 
a three days' stoppage at the convent of St. Catherine, would 
occupy some twenty days ; then proceed by steamer through 
the Suez Canal to Port Said, and thence to Jaflfa for Jerusa- 
lem. Second. The direct route by steamer from Alexandria 
to Jaffa^ avoiding the Desert altogether. Third. The Desert 
route from Mount Sinai to Gaza or Hebron vid NuUd, which 
involves a tedious journey of fourteen or fifteen days on 
camels through uninteresting scenery, in addition to the 

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eight days' march from Suez to Sinai. Fourth. The long 
Desert route, which I took, embracing Sinai, the Gulf of 
Akabah, Petra, and thence to Hebron ; to do which about 
forty days should be allowed. This last is the route I should 
certainly recommend, for although we had some trouble with 
the fellaheen at Petra, still the amount of real danger which 
a traveller encounters is but small, although he absolutely 
puts himself at the mercy of the wild and fierce tribes through 
whose territory he passes. It must be kept in mind that the 
route to Petra is not alvmys open ; in fact, our party was the 
first that had been there for three years, and it is impossible 
to learn with certainty at Cairo whether trayellers can take 
this way to the Holy Land. The only plan is to go from 
Sinai to Akabah, and there see Sheikh Mohammed, with whose 
escort it is necessary to be accompanied ere you can venture 
to the rock-hewn capital of Edom. Even although you have 
to relinquish your journey to Petra, and turn aside to G^za 
vid Nukhl, the whole scenery of the Gulf of Akabah is grand 
and beautifdl, well repaying a visit. 

Such a tour as I have indicated above, including two or 
three weeks' stoppage in Italy on the way out, and a fortnight 
to return home from Constantinople by the * Blue Danube,' 
wiU cost something like 3502., leaving all purchases out of the 
calculationT} Living in the East is expensive ; at most of the 
hotels the charge is 16«. per day, exclusive of wine. Washing 
is 49. per dozen articles, be they stockings, shirts^^ or pocket- 
handkerchiefs. Wines are dear — is. a bottle for Marsala, 5«. 
for ordinary claret, 2«. for beer or stout. Shepheard's is the 

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favourite hotel at Cairo ; almost all the English congregate 
there, in spite of the attractions of the * New Hotel,' which is 
much patronised by Americans. The H6tel du Nil is coming 
into great favour, however; the board is only 12«. a day, but 
the situation is against it, in a narrow alley ofiP the ^ Mooskee,' 
the chief thoroughfare in Cairo. 

The scene in front of Shepheard*s Hotel, which is situated 
in the large open space of ground called the ^ Esbekeeyeh,' is 
well known to all Egyptian travellers, and in itself is a small 
epitome of the sights, peoples, and costumes which become 
fia.miliar to those who sojourn in the East. A few steps lead 
from the street up to a paved landing-place, half verandah 
half porch. Chairs and tables are placed about, affording 
pleasant lounges for the motley and cosmopolitan group of 
travellers from all quarters of the world. Warriors, states- 
men, artists, poets, philosophers, invalids, civilians, merchants 
—every rank in society of all nations, from crowned heads 
downwards — ^have wiled away the balmy hours in the grate- 
ful shade of that pleasant verandah, watching the constantly 
shifting picture of oriental life here presented to view. The 
pavement below is crowded with dragomans, donkey-boys, and 
the usual hangers-on of an Eastern hotel. The juggler, with 
his scanty apparatus of cups, balls, pieces of money and 
guineas-pigs, solicits your attention 5 vendors of water, otto of 
roses, finely-wrought table cloths, gaudily-coloured silks, 
jewelled filagree bracelets, and other articles ; beggars, with 
their picturesque rags — all crowd the pavement until they are 
rudely dispersed by the heavy hide-whip of a powerful Arab 

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porter belonging to the hotel. Then the passerg-by on the 
road are innumerable, and wonderfully varied in costume — 
Arab women dressed in long blue serge robes, with heavy 
water-jugson their heads; Bedawin from the Desert, with loose 
calico shirt, flowing ahhay and gay silk hufiyeh bound round 
his head by a cord of camel's hair ; merchants from the city on 
their ambling donkeys, with voluminous robes, yellow slippers, 
and spotless white turban ; Turkish women, with white veils 
that only permit their sad, soft, gazelle-like eyes to be seen, 
and yellow or purple silk mantles loosely enveloping their 
forms ; long strings of camels attended by their wild drivers, 
and loaded with every variety of merchandise ; occasionally, a 
handsome carriage and horses, preceded by two fleet runniug 
syces, with long black hair, bare legs, shoeless feet, and white 
robes streaming in the wind, uttering a shrill cry to clear a 
passage through the crowd — ^the whole scene forms a strangely 
interesting series of moving many-hued groups, which de- 
light the beholder's eye. 

No sooner does a gentleman make his appearance on the 
hotel steps, with the view of passing into the street, than a 
rush takes place among the innumerable attendant donkey- 
boys. He is assailed with shouts of commendation from 
each particular boy as he belabours his unfortunate quadruped 
into prominent notice. * Want good donkey, sah P Black 
Diamond very good.' 'Champagne Charley very good.' 'Mac- 
aroni, sah ? He go like a diwle ! ' ' Captain Snooks' donkey, 
sah ?* ' Ginger Bob, sah P him very good donkey ; ' and similar 
announcements are dinned into his ears, while he is crushed 

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up in a comer by the individual unwilling donkeys, urged on 
from behind by their excited and yelling masters. There is, 
notwithstanding, something exceedingly interesting and 
taking about many of the juvenile drivers, with their ready 
smile and intelligent humorous ways ; and it is much the best 
plan to single out one whom you mean regularly to employ, 
who will come to be looked upon as youi property, and his 
companions cease to solicit your custom. 

The sights of Cairo are so familiar to the readers of the 
numerous volumes of Eastern travels, that a very few words 
will suffice to indicate the chief of them. The city is said to 
contain nearly 500,000 inhabitants, amongst whom are 800,000 
native Moslems and 25,000 Copts, the remainder being 
Abyssinians, Turks, Jews, &c., and for the spiritual require- 
ments of this population there are over 400 mosques. The 
citadel is the place which most travellers will probably visit 
first, as from it you get a view over the whole city and sur- 
rounding country. Standing on the top of the ramparts and 
looking down, you have before you a confused mass of white 
buildings, mosques, minarets, streets, squares, bazaars, and 
gardens, with great vacant sandy spaces here and there, and 
no hazy pall of smoke hangs over the houses, as in European 
capitals. Beyond the city comes the broad valley of the Nile, 
vividly green, interspersed with feathery palm trees, while the 
smooth shining stream is seen at intervals, winding through 
the rich alluvial plain. Then succeeds the distant, arid sand 
Desert, whose verge is sharply defined where it meets the 
green wave of vegetation 5 and in a north-easterly direction. 

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beyond the land of Goshen, may be dimlj distinguished the 
solitary obelisk, more than 4,000 years old, which is almost 
all that remains of the once great Heliopolis — the famed 
^ City of the Sun/ At the opposite horizon are seen the 
matchless forms of the mighty Pyramids, stretching away 
some twenty miles, till the line ends in the dusky outlines of 
the Pyramids of Dashoor. 

Then the mosque of Mehemet Ali, Joseph's Well, 280 feet 
deep, the Mamelukes' place of slaughter, and other spots, all 
in the citadel, will be visited. The mosques of Hassan, 
Tooloon, and a few more, some Coptish and Armenian 
churches, the delightful bazaars with their strange crowds and 
beautiful wares, the fine Tombs of the Caliphs, the Shoubra 
and Gezeereh palaces and grounds $ Boulac, the port of Cairo, 
and its museum of Egyptian antiquities ; the Petrified Forest, 
old Cairo, and other places, should ali be yisited. A special 
excursion will be made to the Pyramids, which are now ap- 
proached by an excellent coach-road, and for the sum of 
sixteen shillings a carriage and pair, sufficient to hold four or 
fiye persons, may be hired. The road is very well shaded by a 
fine avenue of acacia trees, extending some miles out of the 
city. You have to cross the river at Boulac, and then the 
road commences, which is raised above the level of the sur- 
rounding country. The fields on each side are seamed with 
watercourses or small canals, and in January a thick growth 
of trefoil, early wheat, vetches, sugar-canes, Ac., attest to 
the fertility of the soil. For almost the whole distance the 
huge forms of the Pyramids are seen^ yellow with the rays 

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of the morning sun, and, as thej are neared, the vagrant 
Arabs from the village close by begin to run after the carriage. 
By the time you reach the slope which leads up to the 
Pyramids, a large crowd will have gathered, but it is best to 
get the driver or dragoman to make a bargain with the 
sheikh for the whole party ascending to the top. It costs 
about five shillings for each person, which includes the 
services of two or three Arabs to drag and propel you up 
the enormous stones, a guide to the interior of the Great 
Pyramid, to the Sphinx, and adjacent ruined temples and 
tombs, and other places. Of course, at various points, es- 
pecially in the stifling and slippery interior of the Pyramid, 
your feelings will be worked upon by the Arabs threateningly 
imploring lachsheesh, and most travellers give one or two 
small silver coins to their guide. The * Tomb of Dr. Lepsius,' 
as the Arabs style it, a few hundred yards from the Qreat 
Pyramid, should certainly be visited on account of the won- 
derfully perfect figures and hieroglyphics painted on its 
interior. This is not nearly so well known as the other 
highly interesting sights in the vicinity of the Pyramids 
which have been minutely described by former travellers. 

The Pyramids of Sakkara, the Tombs of the Sacred Bulls^ 
and the site of the celebrated city Memphis, should all be 
visited. This excursion takes an entire day, and, unless you 
are prepared for a good fourteen miles* walk^it is better to 
take donkeys in the train with you, to start from the railway 
station near Memphis for the Pyramids. You must drive 
or ride to the Gezeereh railway station, leaving the hotel 

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at 8 o'clock in the mommg, and the excursion is rather a 
£Ektigaing one. Of Memphis there are hardly any remains^ 
except an ancient statue of the great Barneses lying prostrate 
in a ditch and nearly covered with mud. Beyond this is a 
small lake of dirty water, surrounded by sloping ground and 
mounds of earih, on which grow quantities of palm trees. 
The whole place, especially towards evening, has a strangely 
deserted and lone appearance, showing how completely one 
of the ancient world's great, populous, and powerful cities, 
with its ^doud capt towers' and 'gorgeous palaces,' has 
passed away, not leaving a ' rack behind I ' About three or 
four miles beyond this, afber passing through fertile fields 
of clover, grain, beans and tobacco, and crossing a broad 
canal on a substantial bridge, the Desert is reached, and the 
Pyramids of Sakkara rise up to view. They are small, how- 
ever, compared with those of Geezeh, and much injured; 
therefore you hurry on to the wonderful Tombs of the Bull. 
These are contained in a greaisubterranean gallery hewn out 
of the solid rock, access to which is gained by a sloping 
passage cut out of the rock and partially covered with sand. 
Great dark recesses open out from both sides of the gallery^ 
in each of which reposes a massive sarcophagus, hewn out of 
one solid block of black Egyptian granite, brightly polished 
and covered with hieroglyphics. Each sarcophagus is about 
18 feet long, 8 broad, and 11 in height, and the ponderous 
lids of most of them are partially pushed open, so that you 
can see where the sacred animal once lay embalmed. About 
twenty-four of the sarcophagi have been discovered, and they 

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remain astotmding monmnents of the marvellous mechanical 
skill of the ancient Egyptians. 

An afternoon's ride or drive to the site of Eeliopolis is a 
pleasant excursion. The route goes through fields of grain, 
and is well shaded bj orange groves and acacia trees until, 
at a short distance from the road, jou arrive at the solitary 
obelisk which once Stood before the great Temple of the Sun. 
It rests in a slight hollow, surrounded by small channels for 
irrigation, and a little way off are some orange and palm 
groves. The sculptured figures and birds on the fiwe of the 
venerable red granite monolith, 67 feet in height, have been 
greatly filled up by wasps' or bees' nests, which look just like 
mud plastered over the surface. What a tale this obelisk 
would tell could it speak of the mighty men from Abraham 
and Moses downwards who have gazed upon its glossy fia^e. 
What mighty dynasties has it seen * come like shadows — so 
depart; ' what myriads of men now mouldering in the silent 
dust have shaken the ground at its base with their warlike 
tramp I A little way from this is the celebrated sycamore 
tree, under whose shade the Virgin Mary is reported to have 
rested herself. The trunk is very large, and divided appar<- 
ently into several stems, which unite shortly above the ground, 
and then the branches spring out, though not to any great 
extent. A stream of pure water runs near the tree, which 
was supposed to have been changed by the Virgin from its 
former bitterness of taste. 

The Khedive has now established an excellent museum at 
Boulac, which travellers will do well to visit. A smal} door 

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admits from the crowded dnsbj street, fall of umumerable 
vendors of Egyptian produce and European manufactures, 
to a quiet garden, at one end of which the museum is situ- 
ated. A few statues in rather a mutilated condition will be 
seen scattered about the garden ; they seem to be Grecian 
in character, but are not remarkable for beauty. But on 
entering the building devoted to the extensive collection of 
antiquities which the Viceroy has formed, the visitor will be 
delighted with the variety and great interest of the articles 
exhibited. There are specimens of almost all the varied orna- 
ments in sculpture and art manu&cture with which the ancient 
Egyptians adorned their palaces and tombs. The most interest* 
ing object to be seen, however, is the celebrated written stone, 
called ' the Stone of S&n,' from the place where it was found, 
which was recently discovered. The upper half is covered 
with hieroglyphics, while there are two translations, one on 
the lower portion of the stone in Greek, and the other on 
the side, in demotic characters, the common Egyptian writ* 
ing. This precious slab is careftdly enclosed in a glass case, 
and excites the special attention of oriental scholars. It 
rec<»rds a decree of the priests of Egypt assembled at Cano- 
pus, B.C. 254, ordaining the deification of a daughter of 
Ptolemy Euergetes, and creating a fifth order of priests to 
be called Euergetse, for payiag divine honours to the king 
and queen. Besides this, there are many remarkable statues 
of marble, alabaster, stucco, porphyry, and other materials. 
One of them is a fine and very old one, supposed to be Che- 
phren, who built the second Pyramid of Geesseh, in a sitting 

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posture, of polished black marble ; another beautiful standing 
figure in white alabaster, of a female figure, seemingly of 
regal birth. In one hand she holds a sort of purse, and her 
exquisitely-rounded arms are profusely decorated with brace- 
lets. Then there are many sculptured stones, fragments of 
cornices, rare old mummy cases of wood and stone, the former 
highly decorated with paint and gilding, old Eoman and 
Greek gold and silyer ornaments of endless variety and deli- 
cate form, innumerable sea/rahei, miniature gods and divinities 
of the most approved ancient pattern, trinkets and curiosities 
found in the long-buried temples up the Nile, manuscripts 
and glass bottles, iron and bronze implements, and many 
other articles, * too numerous to mention.' 

All who wish to see the luxurious style in which the 
pleasure-living rulers of this enslaved country live, should 
visit the Shoubra and Gezeereh palaces and grounds. The 
former is some four miles out of Cairo, the road to it leading 
under an avenue of noble acacia trees of great size and age, 
which form an impervious shade even at mid-day. This road 
is the favourite promenade of both foreigners and natives of 
the cotmtry, and about four o'clock all the rank, fashion, and 
beauty (such as it is) of Cairo may be seen enjoying their 
afternoon drive. In addition to the miserable equipages, 
drawn by half-starved horses, with which the visitors are 
fain to put up, there are numerous covered carriages of Euro- 
pean make, drawn by very fiiir horses, containing the veiled 
And jealously-guarded beauties otthehareems that usually form 
a portion of the establishment of a Cairene aristocrat. With 

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their inevitable and repulsive-looking sable guardian, seated 
on the box beside the driver^ dressed, as these men now affect, 
in French costume, with patent leather boots and gaudy 
gold chains, forming their most conspicuous ornaments, 
and preceded by a fleet syce on foot, the poor, degraded, 
yet smiling, painted and powdered inmates of the rich man's 
hareem indulge in their too brief airing, their soft eyes often 
glancing tenderly and wistfully upon the passers-by, who 
enjoy the glorious liberty of moving where they choose over 
desert or plain, while they must fret away the weary hours 
in childish pleasures on downy cushions, their ears soothed 
with soft music and falling waters, their every sense minis* 
iered to, but their persons and wills too often the slaves of 
some tyrannical and brutal master* 

Let us enter the iron portal which leads into this Shoubra 
palace— this prison, in reality, for some of the veiled beauties 
whose unhappy, ephemeral life I have indicated above* Here 
we have a broad and spacious series of gardens, surrounding 
the palace which a former Viceroy erected to minister to his 
unholy pleasures. The walks are cunningly constructed, so 
as to form labyrinthine paths, bordered with many beautiftd 
flowers, various species of geraniums, sweet-scented fiimiliar 
mignonette, lupins, roses, and sundry exotic plants. Over* 
hanging these pleasant paths are numerous leafy and ftugrant 
trees, whose perfumed boughs cast a grateful shade over the 
borders. Little rills and fountains of water plash gently on 
the ear ; an occasional song-bird trills his tender lay in the 
soft atmosphere loaded with the scent of orange blossoms; 

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glimpses of a purely blue sky, flecked with gauzy white 
clouds, may be gained through an opening in the trees ; and 
distant yistas of the majestic river, whose turbid waters wash 
the borders of this beautiful garden, give a calm, placid 
character to the scene. 

You go on until a flight of marble stairs invites to farther 
exploration. Ascending the polished steps, you find your-» 
self in a large open court, so surrounded with corridors 
and sculptured screens as carefully to exclude any prying 
eyes from seeing the voluptuous retreat which is here dis- 
closed to our view. Everything you tread on is polished 
marble, and beyond a tiny balustrade are seen the glancing, 
rippling waters of a miniature lake, on whose surface floats 
a painted and gilded boat. Cool divans and downy seats 
invite the wanderer, languid with the heavy, balmy atmo- 
sphere, to recline awhile and listen to the faint music of the 
wavelets as they kiss the marble lips which would fain woo 
them to repose. But stay; what luxurious and gaudily- 
decorated apartment is this, whose open door allures you to 
enter? Here is magnificence, here is elegance, here is 
verily a meet haunt for a Sybarite to dream away the listless, 
fleeting hours. 

' As bees flee bame wi* lades o' treasure, 
The minutes wing their way wi' pleasure/ 

Eich and yielding Turkey and Persian carpets receive the 
noiseless footfall ; gorgeous damask couches, of many hues ' 
and singular devices, invite you to dreamy repose ; superb. 

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inlaid tables can, at will, be ooyered with all dainties to 
please the eye. and gratify the palled appetite; musical 
instmments are here to add to the sensual feast; great 
mirrors give back the jewelled forms of the houris who 
alone could be privileged to dweU in such a transplendent 

Ah, what a spot ! what a wretched bauble for which to 
barter away Life's glorious career and the Soul's immortal 
destiny ! Who can wonder at the master of such a palace 
passing a feeble and unhonouredlife in miserable bondage to 
his passions and senses! 

Even more magnificently famished is the really handsome 
Qezeereh palace on the riyer's bank opposite Boulac. An 
order is required to admit you to these jealously-guarded 
precincts, for the mysterious regions of the hareem are dose 
by, and woe be to the intruder who dares to set foot in them. 
The palace is exceedingly large, and, when the outer door is 
passed, you find yourself in an extensive hall paved with 
diamond-shaped blocks of marble, on either side of which 
some very handsome saloons open out. First, th^e is a 
dining-^room, with splendid and artistic decorations, a fine 
marble mantel-piece, inlaid with enamel and gold, eaiA a 
great mirror with a marble frame, the floor being covered 
with rich Persian carpets. Then, ascending a broad marble 
staircase from the entrance hall, a suite of beautiful draw- 
ing-rooms are reached, filled with richly gilt furniture of 
the most luxurious description, each one of the massive 
marble mantel-pieces being adorned with a bust of the 

c 2 

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present Viceroy, who seems to liave a special passion for 
seeing his by no means remarkable features reproduced in 
marble. In one of the rooms is a handsome cloct, encased 
in very curiously inlaid enamelled framework. The ball- 
room is a very large apartment, with a highly-polished 
variegated wooden floor of mosaic pattern, and decorated 
with lofby mirrors, immense crystal chandeliers, and other 
splendours. Beyond this are bed-rooms; one, exquisitely 
furnished, has been honoured for a night by the august 
presence of both the Empress of Austria and the ex-Empress 
of the French. It is, I may mention for the information of 
the curious in such matters, all hung with rich green satin, 
and its gorgeous decorations would probably be quite suffi- 
cient to deprive of slumber any guest of less exalted rank 
than these illustrious ladies. 

Prom the palace windows there is a far-reaching view of 
a long stretch of the Nile, enlivened with numerous sails and 
strange-looking river crafb, laden with their picturesque con- 
tents ; while at intervals, amidst the graceful palm trees 
which line the banks, white villas, belonging to the prosper- 
ous magnates of this semi-European capital, are discerned, 
giving life and animation to the scene. On the opposite 
bank the mouldering houses of Boulac rise up from the 
water's edge, many of them specially noticeable from the 
strangely picturesque latticed windows which they possess. 
Surrounding the palace are tasteful gardens, exti*emely pret- 
tily laid out, irrigated by canals of certainly not over-clean 
water, overhung with weeping willows, pendant acacias, 

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drooping tamarisks, and other graceful trees, and crossed at 
intervals bj tiny bridges with neat balustrades, while abund- 
ance of orange trees, citrons, magnolias, azaleas, and other 
flowering shrubs, give yariety and yerdure to this pleasant 
spot. Besides which there is a yerj respectable collection 
of wild animals at one end of the garden, thus adding a 
zoological zest for those who have B,penchant for savage beasts. 
The enlightened ruler of this country has conceived the 
happy idea of attracting Europeans to his capital by intro- 
ducing two species of amusements which, however much 
their frequenters may laud them to the skies, have hitherto 
proyed anything but conducive to pureness of morals either 
amongst actors or spectators. The amusements to which I 
refer are the opera and horse-races, and as no expense has 
been spared in getting first-rate singers and undeniably good 
animals together, the result probably proves gratifying to 
His Highness the Khediye. For a consideration of some- 
thing like ten francs, any one, if so disposed, may hear the 
graceful music of Yerdi warbled forth by a/rtiates of acknow- 
ledged European reputation, the blas4 habitu4 of the opera 
may refresh his memory with renewed illustrations of the 
passionate woe breathed forth in * Ah, che la morte,* or the 
pathetic upbraidings of Signer Graziani in ' II balen.' The 
opera of * Aida' * was, in the season of 1872, brought out 
at Cairo with a splendour which the * ratepayers ' of Egypt^ 
it is to be hoped, duly appreciated. The racecourse is some 

' An £;g7ptian opera composed hj V^erdi for the Ehedire. 

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two or three nules out of town, on tlie road to Heliopolis. 
It is merely a rough track on the outskirts of the Desert, 
with a rude rail to indicate the course, and, on account of 
the heavy sand in which the horses run, the pace is very 
poor. Apparently, the *turf* has few attractions for the 
Arabs, as the attendance at those races which I witnessed 
was extremely small, though some fine horses contended for 
the liberal prizes the Viceroy gave, and most of which were 
torried off by his own stable. The grand stand is a wooden 
erection, by no means imposing in appearance, and there 
were a few miserable booths behind, where bad brandy was 
being dispensed at great prices to the French and English 
jockeys. All the features of an English racecourse, except 
the indescribable air of wickedness and blackguardism which 
is inseparable from such meetings, were conspicuous by their 
absence. There was no excitement as the horses neared the 
winning-post, no cheering when the winner came in, hardly 
any attempt at keeping order on the course, no shouting 
but vociferous bets, no brilliantly-dressed galaxy of female 
loveliness, no thronging mass of dusty htimanity streaming 
tomewards when the events of the day were over. The 
whole affair was not only demoralising but woefully dull, 
hopelessly out of place, and of little advantage to any one 
except the donkey boys and hackney coach proprietors, 
who were enabled to charge double and treble their usual 
fares. - 

It is extremely easy to fall into the lazy dolce far niente 
life of matiy travellers, who come to Cairo to lounge away the 

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winter m<mt1is. There is the incessant changes in the 
inmates of the hotel to give variety of company and faces. 
There is the eating, drinking, smoking, and reading of news- 
papers, and the salutations with yonr friends on the rerandah. 
Then, for members of the fair sex, and not a few of the men 
also, there is the shopping in the Mooskee and bazaars. Every 
afternoon also, for more than an hour, one of the Viceroy's 
bands discourses popular waltzes and galops of the day in the 
large public gardens, recently constructed before the ^ New 
Hotel,' which are laid out with a very fair eye to the pic- 
turesque. Sefreshments can be got in tiiese gardens at open- 
air ca^, and they are becoming a rather favourite prome- 
nade for the strangers, while not a few of the denizens of Cairo 
take advantage of their attractions. New buildings are 
springing up in all directions, especially in the neighbourhood 
of the * New Hotel,' which, by the way, is the property of the 
Viceroy. His Highness has a passion for building, and be- 
tween the hotel and Boulac an elaborate series of streets and 
boulevards are being constructed, which gives a very Euro- 
pean aspect to this portion of the city. It needs the 
presence of palm trees and the dim forms of the majestic 
pyramids, duskily looming in the distance, to convince one 
that he is verily in the land of Egypt, where the gleaming 
crescent is the ensign of power. 

A walk round about the outskirts of the city will well repay 
the traveller, as he can then see the activity of the Ehedive * 

1 The Arabic word is Khidem. The two first letters are pronounced like the 

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in constructing new canals for irrigation and navigation, 
in extending railway accommodation, and similar projects. 
He will observe various processes of cultivation and irriga- 
tion going on, while great gangs of unfortunate peasants are 
being driven to their hated work bj overseers and task- 
masters, who do not scruple to use arguments based upon the 
whip and stick should the poor wretches diminish aught of 
their exertions. Still, with all his boasted schemes of civili- 
sation, his sugar factories, and canals, and railways, his 
boulevards, his operas and ballets, his English grooms, car- 
riages and horses, his consulting engineers, and syndicate of 
bankers to find the ways and means for that lavish expendi- 
ture which is everywhere going on, — in spite of this seeming 
show of outward prosperiiy, the power of the Viceroy rests, 
after all, upon a miserably inadequate foundation, for it is 
assuredly not grounded upon the happiness, affection, and 
enlightened approbation of a contented and loyal people. 

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At last we are on the smooth-flowing yellow waters of that 
mysterions stream which for so many ages has excited the 
wonder of the most profound sages, and baffled the persever- 
ance of innumerable daring discoverers. Our own immortal 
Livingstone, that dauntless old man, buried for years far from 
the ken of the civilised world, amidst lone deserts, and the 
dismal solitude of deadly fever swamps, seems at last to be 
on the eve of solving that great problem which for so long 
has puzzled the world. What innumerable travellers, with 
varying shades of descriptive enthusiasm, have painted the 
charms of old Nile ! But those are ever new, ever radiant 
with the imperishable hues which must still invest the beauti- 
fal, the strange, and the majestic in nature. 

How often have we read of its manifold charms, its reedy 
sandy banks, its clustering palm groves, its mud-built Arab 
villages, its animated pictures of riverside life, the strings of 
slow-pacing camels and their ragged picturesque attendants^ 
blue-veiled women with graceful water-jar poised on their 
shoulder, its green thickets of acacias, its solemn temples 
and mouldering cities, dotting the narrow zone of deep 

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verdure which extends from the river banks to the distant 
background of white limestone mountains ! Gliding along 
the turbid stream, the first objects which prominently strike 
a beholder's eye are the endless beautiful groves of feathery 
palm trees, and especially lovely they seem against the 
purple evening sky ; while the delicate after-glow gradually 
overspreads the horizon, as the rich crimson hue of the setting 
gun softens into a rosy tint, faintly sufiEused with amber. 
Then the lovely moonlight nights with their deliciously calm 
balmy atmosphere, when palm groves, billowy plain and dim 
mountain ranges alike are blended into one soft, ghostly and 
harmonious whole, and the shimmering flowing stream, like 
a pale glassy shroud, silently steals away! 

Our steamer sailed from Boulac pretty punctually on the 
afternoon of Tuesday^ January 23, having on board a party 
of some eighteen persons of varied nationalities, professions, 
temperaments, and ways of ' taking things.* We had English- 
men, Scotchmen, and Irishmen, Americans, one especially 
vivacious Transatlantic family, a Canadian, and two most 
worthy and exemplary members of the great Teutonic Father- 
land, one of whom, a learned professor, and who was held in 
esteem by all for his good humour, cheerfulness, and hon- 
homie^ became quite a leader and an authority amongst us. 
Besides the worthy professor, we had amongst us a barrister, 
an embryo clergyman, a cavalry officer (English), an ex-hard- 
ware merchant, a sugar refiner, a qiwndam banker and present 
gentleman at large, with philanthropical but decidedly 
indefinite ideas, a dry goods merchant, and a mysterious 

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gentleman addicted to silence, as to whose occupation, past 
and present or prospectire, * deponent' is unable to say 
aught. Then we were also accompanied by a dragomau, 
Denis Skey by name, a young Syrian professor of the healing 
art, Doctor Louis, who knew no English, but in an unde- 
monstrative way made himself acceptable to us all, two 
Italian waiters and a third attendant of polyglot nationaliiy^ 
besides the Arab captain, reis, engineers, and other members 
of the crew. Sundry friends accompanied us to Boulac, and 
libations of champagne were poured forth towards our suc- 
cessful voyage. At length, amidst the vociferations of a crowd 
of Arab boatmen, our steamer backed out from the numerous 
dahabeahs and river boats by which she was surrounded, and 
fairly breasted the stream. 

Behold us now on the deck of our queer old-fashioned 
looking craft, with her white paddle-boxes and antiquated 
hull, from the stem of which streamed a rather unwashed 
looking ensign, emblazoned with a crescent and star, the 
crest of His Highness the Khedive. We are arrayed in all 
the varied costumes which it pleases your oriental tourist 
to afifect. Some have straw hats, some pith helmets, some 
woollen caps ; light tweed garments predominate among the 
gentlemen ; and the chaussure of the party displays a variety 
of styles, from the good old-fashioned British black leather 
boot shaded away in gradations of undressed mixtures to a 
simple white canvas integument. But stay I surely I had 
forgotten that we had ladies on board — and veiy pleasant 
specimens of * our American cousins ' they were ; and two 

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viyacious juveniles, with the adyanced manners of that all- 
pervading nation, completed the family gronp. The latter 
speedily became favourites, and their cheery young voices, 
and fresh unsophisticated ways, decidedly added to the 
hilarity of our cabin party. 

Before the first dinner-bell had sounded at about half- 
past five o^clock, we had pretty well shaken into our new 
mode of life, and established our respective positions on 
deck. Let me here advise all similar travellers to be sure 
and provide themselves with cane arm-chairs for lounging in 
on deck, as the steamer possesses two at most, and there is 
something peculiarly pleasant in watching the ever-changing 
riverside panorama from a comfortable arm-chair. They 
can be got, for some fifteen shillings, in the Mooskee, and 
may be disposed of without difficulty when the voyage is 
over. Canvas shoes, which may be bought in Cairo for 
twelve or fifteen francs, the tourist will find extremely com* 
fortable for deck wear, though they cannot be recommended 
for walking ashore, or on the gravelly sand of the Nile 
valley. Ordinary undressed calf leather shoes or boots, 
with tolerably thick soles, are the best for land work, for it 
is vain to expect to get boots polished in the East. 

Two suits of tweed, one light in colour, neither of heavy 
texture, and a better suit of clothes for Sundays and visits 
of ceremony, with a thick warm overcoat, a railway rug, an 
umbrella, and a stout sunshade (costing some five or six 
francs), a small bottle of quinine, and two or three ^ simples ' 
of the Pharmacopoeia which will at once suggest themselves. 

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a pocket compass^ some woollen and coarse cotton sliirts, a 
soft felt hat, a pair of green spectacles^ a measuring tape, 
two or three needles and some thread, and a bine veil, are 
positively abont the whole requisites of an ordinary Egyp- 
tian tourist. Some people encumber themsdves with Eng- 
lish saddles, or purchase in Cairo Egyptian ones, for the 
donkeys on which you visit the tombs and temples up the 
Nile ; they carry revolvers, elaborate travelling bags, medi- 
cine chests and such like, all of which are of little use, but 
certainly give inestimable trouble. No doubt, for the long 
Desert journey, other appurtenances are requisite, but these I 
shall mention in their proper place. 

By dinner-time we had passed Ehoda Island, where the 
in&nt Moses was supposed to have been found, and where is 
the Nilometer for measuring the height of the inundation, 
the long bridge of boats opposite Boulac, and were nearly 
abreast the site of ancient Memphis and the Pyramids of 
Sakkara. The banks of the river for some distance above 
Boulac present a gay and semi-European appearance, from 
the numerous palaces, villas, and sugar factories embosomed 
amidst the green acacia, tamarisk, and palm trees, which 
clothe the landscape. Great numbers of river boats, im- 
pelled by huge, wing-like lateen sails, and laden with all 
manner of up-country produce, interspersed with piles of 
goUaha or porous water-jars, and Ballas jugs or vases, are 
seen gliding along the stream. Every two or three hundred 
jrards the shadoof is being worked by half-naked fellahs^ 
raising up the life-giving Nile water to enrich their thirsiy 

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ground. All is new and strange, and even tliat sound so 
magical in Britisli ears, the dinner-bell, is temporarily disre- 
garded in tlie dreamy listlessness of your new life. 

When we rose from dinner and regained the deck, what a 
marvellous change had come over the scene ! A pale, wan 
radiance suffused the landscape, misty grey vapoars rolled 
imperceptibly away from the river's banks, a pearly halo 
crowned the distant mountain's brow, and the dark purple 
glittering canopy was spread overhead. Soft and balmy 
was the air, a profound cakn reigned around, occasionally a 
twinkling yellow light would gleam amid the palm groves. 
The river itself, no longer seeming a dingy yellow, shone 
vrith a ghostly, glassy hue, and the monotonous beating of 
the paddles alone disturbed the sense of perfect repose. 
. We usually had our coffee on deck under an awning, 
serving alike to keep off unhealthy night dews and those un- 
pleasant black specks which the funnel so liberally bestows 
on all and sumlry. Then we discussed the events of the day, 
and made plans for the morrow; while some of our party 
perambulated the deck with sentry-like step, others gazed at 
the stars, smoked and thought of home, the lovely and 
the loved ones, ^ though lost to sight to memory dear ; ' 
others (among whom I generally found myself) were busy 
over journals, diaries, and guide books down in the cabin. 
Our first anchoring place was at a small village called Eafir- 
el-Aiat, which we reached about nine o'clock, and, after the 
steamer was made fast to the bank, some of our party 
proceeded ashore to investigate what was to be seen in the 

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misty moonliglit. The onlj result of our promenade in the 
Ticiniiy of the Tillage was to bring out from their hiding places 
tribes of Arab dogs, who kept np thereafter an intermittent 
howling for most of the night. The night air on deck was 
delicionslj soft, and even warm, which made one reluctant 
to * turn in.' 

Next morning, about half-past eight, we passed the bo^ 
called 'fiEilse' pyramid, an irregular mass of stones built on 
a substratum of rock at a considerable distance from the 
river, and towards one o'clock we reached the town of Beni 
Sooef. This is a town of some size, and is dignified by 
haying a resident governor, but its streets and bazaars are 
miserable and dirty. Once it had a considerable linen trade, 
which has now almost entirely deserted it. It was a walk 
of perhaps a mile and a half from our place of landing to 
the town, which is surrounded by many trees, a good 
number of the gum tribe especially. Sugar canes, grain, 
clover, and beans, seemed to be the staple articles grown in 
the fields through which we passed. Our stay ashore did 
not exceed two hours, and we were glad when steam was 
got up again. 

We were constantly passing dahabeahs either going up or 
returning down the river, and this caused a brief excitement 
among our party, some rushing to see what flag the stranger 
carried, while in many cases we passed sufficiently near to 
distinguish if there were friends on board. That evening 
we encountered a down-stream steamer which had been 
hired by a party of seven Americans, ladies and gentlemen. 

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who had now been away from Cairo some forty days. We 
approached close enough to enable our dragoman to hand 
over a packet of letters which seemed to give great delight 
to the recipients. 

Minieh was our next stopping-place, which we reached 
soon after mid-day. This is an important and rising town, 
as well as a very ancient one, though there are no old build- 
ings or remains in it. The railway passes here on its way 
to Thebes, and there is a very large sugar manufactory which 
we visited. A new engine and refining-house was in course 
of erection, and we saw a number of huge copper boilers 
ready to be placed in position, that must have each cost about 
two thousand pounds. The factories are almost entirely 
raised and kept up by forced labour; that is to say, notice 
is given to the local authorities that a certain supply of 
workers from so many villages must be got, and the unfor- 
tunate /eZ^As are driven away from the tillage of their fields, 
or whatever else they may chance to be engaged upon, and 
transported in open boats to the special factory which it 
pleases the Viceroy to construct or enlarge. Certainly, in 
some of the factories, they do give good native workers pay 
at the rate of about a shilling per day, an inferior hand six- 
pence, and a boy twopence. There is also a sort of tacit 
understanding that the wretched peasants will not be de- 
tained at their enforced work for more than a few months, 
but this is rarely adhered to. Though the chief of the village 
from which the labourers are driven is bound to provide their 
wives and children with food, still this duty he will do his 

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best to eyade^ and the whole system is based upon monstrous 
tyranny and injustice. In spite of all this, and of the &^t 
that sugar is a (jovemment monopoly, I was told by an emi- 
nent Scotch authority on these subjects, who had personally 
examined into the matter, that he questioned if the viceregal 
speculation was a profitable one. 

We stumbled upon the illustrious personage who rules this 
land at Minieh, where he has a handsome large palace, near 
the riyer side, surrounded with trees and pleasant gardens. 
There were some seyen or eight steamers, all flying the 
crescent and the star, in attendance upon His Highness, and 
a yariety of soldiers, personal attendants, and high officials 
were sauntering along the banks near the palace. The 
bazaars presented the usual appearance, full of barbers, 
smokers, coffee-drinkers, and drug shops, in which were 
numerous articles of European manufacture for sale, such as 
pickles, jam, marmalade, beer and stout, Dutch cheeses, and 
other agreeable condiments. There was, howeyer, little to 
tempt one to expend any of that loose silyer of which (as 
before) I would recommend trayellers to lay in a small store, 
for purchases up the river. 

Shortly after steaming away from the town, we were struck 
by the singular aspect of a series of very rugged, strangely 
shaped rocks, which rise up from the river's edge, and we 
also saw, for the first time, those peculiar rafts of goUahs, or 
water jars, which are tied together in regular rows one above 
another, and so float down with the stream. There was no- 
thing calling for any specially enthusiastic admiration on the 

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part of onr voyagers, until we visited next morning the cele- 
brated tombs of Beni Hassan. Now, as my object is not to 
go into elaborate accounts of those sights which have been 
so well described in conntless former books of travels, but 
rather to indicate what actually is to be seen during a three 
weeks' hurried tour up the Nile, I will say but little about 
tiiese tombs: 

We left our steamer after an early breakfa^ and having 
<made our way through a very poor-looking village, emerged 
upon a broad gravelly valley which opens out from the hills 
at this point. Some curiously sculptured chambers on the 
right-hand side of the rocks which close in upon the valley, 
^vere examined, and tiien we proceeded along the foot of the 
sloping cliffs &cing the river, till the tombs of Beni Hassan 
Were reached. A dreary, desolate track it was along which 
we walked— dry, arid gravel under foot, overspread at in- 
tervals with great boulders of stone from the hills above. 
We passed near two ruined Arab villages, utterly deserted 
by their former occupants, who, in &ct, were a band of 
robbers, and having proved too troublesome for the neigh- 
bourhood, they were rooted out to a man by orders of Ibrahim 
Pasha, and their habitations destroyed. 

The tombs, which are supposed to have been constructed 
nearly 3,800 years ago, are cut out of the solid rock, and 
have a cavernous, melancholy look. After excavating the 
interior, pillars of rock were left at intervals, to support the 
roof, and subsequently wrought into artistic capitals in the 
order of Doric architecture* Some of these grotto tombs are 

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large, with porticoes in front, and the columns within are so 
placed as to giye a nave and aisles. In one of them, the 
pillars are in the design of stalks of water plants bound to- 
gether, with a lotus blossom above ; and, in some instances, 
they form polygons, 16J feet high and 6 feet in diameter. 
Many of the frescoes and painted figures are wonderfully 
vigorous and well designed, especially a series of pictures 
representing wrestlers and athletes in every variety of gym- 
nastic attitude. Then in one tomb is a singular represen- 
tation, apparently intended to be a number of Greek 
prisoners, which some learned travellers have pronounced 
to depict Joseph and his brethren. The colours and fres- 
coes in some of the tombs are strangely fresh, considering 
their vast age, and in a few cases mununy pits remain to 
attest the purpose for which these curious grottoes were 

We experienced a veritable Egyptian gale on the river 
this day, and great clouds of sand were consequently raised 
ashore which, at times, blew right across from bank to bank* 
Passed some really fine bluff rocks a little distance above 
Beni Hassan. They rose perpendicularly from the water, 
and were pierced with numerous small cavities, that were 
taken advantage of by quantities of birds something like 
rock-pigeons. Towards evening the wind died away, and 
the temperature grew much warmer as we reached the im- 
portant town of Sioot, where we lay all night. This is the 
capital of Upper Egypt^ contains more than 20,000 inhabi- 
tants, and from here the caravan to Darfur starts. The 

1> 2 

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town is situated at the foot of the Libyan Hills, and, seen 
from a little distance, has a remarkably picturesque appear- 
ance, with its surrounding acacia and palm groves, and 
several graceful minarets rising amidst the verdure. You 
walk from the river's brink to the town for nearly a mile 
along a raised causeway, and then find yourself involved in 
the usual labyrinth of dirty streets and stifling bazaars. 
There appeared to be a market going on, and quantities of 
camels and donkeys, with their owners attired in their varied 
costumes, were picketed round the outskirts of the town, 
while crowds of merchants, traffickers in produce, vegetable 
sellers, water and sweetmeat sellers, pilgrims, soldiers, and 
a profusion of children, made it a matter of considerable 
difficulty to force one's way onwards. 

Accompanied by a friend, I walked through the town to 
the cliffis, a little way beyond, where are some grotto tombs 
of no very special interest, excepting in the case of one where 
a curious procession of soldiers carrying shields is traced on 
the rock. But the view from the summit of the hills at the 
back of Sioot is really well worth going to see. You look 
down upon the irregularly-shaped town, its mosques, min- 
arets, pigeon-houses, and palm groves, with the green fields 
extending in rich luxuriance till they are met by the broad 
glistening river on one side and the white limestone moun- 
tains on the other. A noble reach of the Nile valley is spread 
out beyond this, and the distant desert line may be sharply 
traced where it meets that waving carpet of bright verdure, 
while life and animation is given to the picture by the bird* 

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like wings of the numerous riyer craft now filled by a fo^yonr- 
ing breeze* 

At Sioot great quantities of different sorts of pottery 
mann&ctores are produced, many of the articles being cha- 
racterised by much taste and elegance of design. The cups 
and saucers, water-decanters, candlesticks, drinking-yessels, 
and such like, are really tempting to a loyer of fictile ware 5 
but the worst of it is the great difficulty in transmitting 
them unbroken to England. Through the kindness of a 
Scotch friend, who was despatching seyeral considerable 
packages to the Clyde, I was enabled to forward a few of my 
purchases, and they arriyed absolutely intact. Besides the 
aboye articles which our steamer party was importuned to 
select by many itinerant yendors, we were besieged by a 
perfect regiment of sellers of other Egyptian ornaments: 
fans, daggers, turquoises, necklaces, silyer nose-rings and ear- 
rings, and similar trinkets, who succeeded in doing a fiiir 
amount of business. 

I yisited, on our downward yoyage, a large school, * lo- 
cated,^ to use a fayourite Transatlantic phrase, in an ugly 
but extensiye white building of a substantial character close 
to the riyer side. The rooms are spacious and lofty ; and 
the desks, forms, great black-board, with mathematical dia- 
grams on it, the school maps, and other educational para- 
phernalia, gaye quite a European aspect to the establish- 
ment. The school-books were printed partly in Arabic, 
partly in French, on the same page ; and I obseryed a his-* 
tory of Egypt in the language of la belle Frcmce. Upstairs 

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tbere were several large dormitories, excellent airy rooms, 
with good glass windows, and a doable row of cleanclooking 
iron bedsteads to accommodate the slumbering forms of the 
interesting Egyptian youths who, at that particular moment, 
were enjoying their brief relaxation in the playground. The 
young gentlemen in question, who doubtless were the sons 
of prosperous merchants* and officials about Cairo, wore a 
sort of military uniform. Some were dressed in red trousers 
with a stripe down the side, and a black coat studded over 
with brass buttons, while the unmentionable habiliments of 
others were of duck material; but all wore the universal red 
tarbooshy or fez cap. 

Leaving Sioot, with its red pottery, dirt, and teeming 
population, the next place of any size that we passed was 
the town of Akhmin, once a large and ancient city of Thebes. 
It is now little better than a village, whose most conspicuous 
feature is a number of exceedingly neatly constructed pigeon- 
houses, carefully whitewashed, and apparently tenanted to 
an alarming extent. The character of the river banks here 
is very similar to what it has been for the last two days, but 
this district is specially rich in varieties of birds of all de- 
scriptions that cover each rounded mudbank or flat reach of 
shore. Herons, flamingoes, geese, ibises, pigeons, ducks, 
and a whole catalogue of the feathered creation, disport 
themselves to the gratification of the sporiisman and omi- 
tliologist. Innumerable shadoofs were in fall work all along 
this locality ; and as no book upon Egypt ever fails to de- 
scribe this primitive irrigating machine, one can only follow 

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Buit. All that it consists of is a bucket of tough skin hung 
from a horizontal pole, at the other end of which leverage 
is gained by a heavy lump of dried mud or stone, which is 
suspended close to the pole, and the latter is firmly attached 
at right angles to a stationary crossbar, resting on two 
upright posts of stout palm wood. Draw down the loaded 
end of the pole, and up goes the full water-skin, which ia 
then emptied into the irrigating channel. If the bank is 
steep, three, four, or five sets of Bhadoof$ are placed in posi- 
tion, one above another, so as to raise the water to the 
requisite level. The one at the river's edge lifts the precious 
fluid up to a short canal conducting to a pool, which feeds 
the bucket of a machine higher up the bank, and so on till 
the field above is reached. Another species of irrigating 
machine is the sahiaj or large water-wheel worked by an 
ox, a donkey, or, very rarely, a horse. The animal perambu- 
lates in a circular space like that of an old-fashioned thresh- 
ing mill, and so turns a large revolving wheel hung verti- 
cally, to which are attached numerous earthenware pots, 
tied on to a strong rope, and the latter, again, is so fixed to 
the wheel as to allow sufficient scope for each jar to fill with 
water out of the deep well below. The jars, as the wheel 
revolves, are emptied into a short conduit, communicating 
with the main channel of irrigation. These $akia%y which 
are almost always stationed at some distance from the river, 
keep up an incessant groaning, creaking, monotonous sound, 
unlike almost any other machinery music, if one may so 
slyle it. 

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The town of Girgeh and the deeply interesting ruins of 
Abjdns, one of the most famous ancient Egyptian cities, 
were passed by us on our upward Toyage unvisited; and 
about 3 o^clock p.m., on January 28, we met, on her return 
to Cairo, the passenger steamer which left Boulac the 9th of 
this month. She lay off the village of Bellianeh, to enable 
her passengers to visit the temples situated some five or six 
miles from the river. I walked from our steamer, which 
had come to anchor more than a mile higher up the stream, 
to see a friend whom I expected to fall in with on board the 
other vessel. It was excessively hot, and you raised suffi- 
cient dust in walking along the towing path to add to the 
discomfort caused by the oppressive atmosphere; conse- 
quently, I was rather disgusted to find that I had my walk 
for nothing. There was a wonderfully beautiful afterglow 
that evening, and most of our party assembled on deck to 
see its too-rapidly vanishing glories imperceptibly fading 
away into the pale, sheeny radiance of the rising moon. It 
is very difficult to trace the distinction of colouring in those 
exquisite sky pictures, which seem to attain their acme of 
beauty about half an hour after sunset. All the horizon 
nearest the grey mountain outline is suffused with a deep 
red tinge, and this is delicately graded away through a suc- 
cession of amber, yellow, violet, blue and pale purple tints into 
the dark sapphire of the overarching canopy of Heaven. 

We lay all night at Tarshoot, a place of no particular 
note, and steamed off at about 7.30 in the morning. The 
river is confined to a somewhat narrow channel by steep 

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rocky banks, between this and £eneh, where we again 
stopped for some hours to visit the noble remains of Den- 
dera. Consequently, the stream is rapid, and we were thank- 
ful that we possessed some other motive power with which 
to contend against its force than the cumbrous sails of the 
river craft that were diligently wooing each fickle, favouring 
breeze. Still, in places where the channel widens, and there 
are sand shoals, all was not ^ plain sailing,' and occasionally, 
with a heavy, plunging shock that decidedly disturbed one's 
equilibrium and equanimity, our steamer ran aground and 
stuck fast. Then all was excitement and confusion among 
the hitherto sleepy, idle crew. The captain emerged from 
a dingy cabin, redolent of bad tobacco and oil ; the semi- 
nude form of our Arab engineer protruded itself from the 
dark regions below; the dragoman came forth out of his 
small cabin on the foredeck to inquire what was the matter; 
our Italian waiters threw aside the cards with which they 
frequently solaced their few leisure moments; while the 
somnolent passengers, most of whom, at some portion of 
the day, regaled themselves with furtive slumbers in their 
modest sleeping apartments, one by one appeared above the 
* companion ' to see what was wrong. The individual who, 
on these occasions, showed himself to be master of the 
situation, was the reis or steersman. He it was, and not 
the captain, who took command of the vessel, shouting out 
his directions, or venting his execrations with true Arab 
volubility and profuse energy of gesticulation. The orders 
appropriate to the occasion were given to the engineer in 

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that pectdiar broken English which is the steam-engine 
language both of Egypt and the Levant, and, with the help 
of extra pressure on the boiler, and long poles energetically 
thrust into the sandbank by our united crew, at last the 
obstacle was overcome. 

Zeneh, where our steamer brought up, is a town of by no 
means good reputation, situated some three miles from the 
river; and here numerous dancing girls congregate, whose 
performances some of our party were anxious to witness, but 
subsequently appeared to have got remarkably little value 
for the napoleon apiece which they had to pay. There is 
always an amount of mysterious reticence, as &x as I have 
noticed, observed by those who have seen the ghewazee 
perform, but, from what I could learn, the exhibition was 
neither amusing, interesting, or specially indecent. It was 
held in some disreputable cafS or smoking divan, and, be- 
tween the vile odours of the place, the oleaginous pall of 
thick smoke enveloping the scene, the horrible compounds 
which both women and spectators (among whom the native 
element predominated), consumed, and the wearisome mono- 
tony of the so-called dancing itself, our select company of 
sight-seers, intent on prying into * life ' in Eeneh, were glad 
to beat their retreat* 

We started for Dendera, to reach which will occupy about 
an hour's pleasant walk across the grain and bean fields. 
The road is raised above the level of the plain, which is here 
rather broad, and the Libyan mountains assume bold, rugged 
outlines. Most of us rode donkeys, iliere being generally an 

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ample supply of those useftil n>niTnalR awaiting the trayell^ 
at each landing-place, attended by a motley throng of boy. 
girls, and men, all intent upon backsheesh. A great quantity 
of rubbish, composed of dried mud, broken tiles, bricks, and 
heaps of stones, surrounds the ruins, so as to present from 
a distance the aspect of extensive mounds of earth. But 
on coming nearer, the temple has a wonderfully perfect 
appearance, with its noble portico and magnificent columns. 
After passing under an old archway, with good hieroglyphics 
cut on its side, you walk, perhaps, 200 yards till the lofty 
portico is reached, to enter which it is necessary to descend 
a flight of steps. Though the temple is (for Egypt) of com- 
paratively recent date, being classed by the learned in such 
matters about the time of the Emperor Tiberius, it is an 
imposing pile of buildings. You stand in that majestic 
vestibule, 100 feet long by 70 broad, and gaze upwards at 
the ponderous stone roof supported by twenty-four grand 
columns, each 60 feet high and nearly 9 feet in diameter. 
The capitals of these pillars are great blocks of stone, 
measuring 10 feet every way, their four sides being sculp- 
tured into the cahn, serene features of the goddess Athor, 
the Egyptian Yenus, to whom the temple is supposed to be 

On the stone roof is traced that celebrated representation 
of the signs of the zodiac which has given rise to much 
learned commentary. Pillars, roof, and walls are alike 
oovOTed with a series of marvellously minute and perfect 
hieroglyphics, which would tax the erudition of a Wilkinson 

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or Lepaios to decipher. Unfortunately, however, the smoke 
of torches used by numerous trayellers has greatly black- 
ened the walls, rendering many of the figures difficult to 
trace. It would be vain to attempt any details of the 
immense series of mystic hieroglyphics which cover every 
portion, both internally and externally, of this wonderful 
temple, where great chambers, dark and dread, succeed one 
another, until you reach the inner sanctum of its priesthood. 
Many side chambers, of smaller size, open out of the prin* 
cipal ones, and off one of the former a small 'square aperture 
admits into a long, narrow, intensely dark passage which 
surrounds the large hall. Then by a staircase of very 
limited size, though quite easy to ascend, you gain the roof 
of the temple, which is constructed of massive oblong blocks 
of stone. On its external walls are many elegantly cut 
figures ; among them, on the west side, a supposed represen- 
tation of no less famous a personage than Cleopatra, that 
witching queen, who committed such havoc in the affections 
of several distinguished Bomans of old. Great quantities of 
bees, however, have taken considerable liberties with the 
features of the frail Egyptian beauty, and their nests of 
wax or mud completely plaster over and obliterate many of 
the figures. 

No part of the temple, however, is to be compared with 
the portico, which has something exceedingly grand and 
impressive about it. I stood alone in its dark recesses, after 
our party had lefb, gazing on the gigantic columns towering 
alofb in the gloom, while a stillness, solemn and profound 

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almost as that of the graye, invited to reverent musings over 
the mighty past of this mysterions country and people, 
their marvellous enterprises, their skill in architecture, 
their rare intellectual lore, their strange rites and religious 
ceremonies. How striking, imposing, yet miserably degrad- 
ing. Here, in this very temple, a later form of worship, still 
more enslaving to the senses of its votaries, had apparently 
been celebrated, enriched with the elegant fables of heathen 

But enough of Dendera ; let us hasten on to royal Thebes, 
the wondrous city of an ^ hundred gates,' whose foundation 
dates back to some 2,000 years before the birth of our Lord, 
the capital of the kingdom of the Pharaohs when at the 
height of their vast power. Its mighty remains are situated 
in the midst of a great green plain, which extends on both 
sides of the river, and is hemmed in by those huge natural 
bulwarks, the towering ranges of the Libyan and Arabian 
mountains. First in order, we come to the ruins of the 
great Palace of Luxor, quite close to the riverside, from 
whence an avenue of ram-headed sphinxes, now sadly muti- 
lated and destroyed, leads to the temple of Eamak. The 
principal entrance to the ruins of Luxor is very fine. On 
each side of the gateway were once two noble obelisks of red 
granite, nearly 80 feet high, one of which was, with infinite 
labour, removed to Paris, and now stands in the Place de la 
Concorde. Between the obelisk and gateway are two huge 
sitting granite statues of Barneses II., each 44 feet high, but 
unfortunately the sand has accumulated so as to cover 

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everything except the head and shoulders. Their featiufes 
wear the usual majestic expression of repose and grandeur 
which characterises all the statues of this great king. Be- 
yond this are ranges of immense pillars and portions of 
^teways, porticoes, and vast halls, but no care whatever is 
taken of these great ruins, for i^efeUaheen have built their 
mud hovels in and about the temple, so as totally to dis- 
fignre it. 

After passing through the dirty village of Luxor and the 
fields beyond, you walk along the double avenue of sphinxes, 
and arrive at a fine gateway, or pylon, as the correct name is, 
erected by Ptolemy Euergetes. It is of imposing dimensions, 
having massive side walls, proAisely covered with figures, 
and enormous oblong blocks of stone are laid transversely 
to form the roof. This is the actual commencement of the 
gigantic ruins of Kamak, which assuredly must realise the 
most exalted anticipations of all reasonable travellers. The 
pylon stands alone, but a hundred yards beyond is a 
temple adorned with very large pillars and ponderous entab- 
latures all covered with hieroglyphics. Beyond this, a little 
to the left, you reach the grand entrance to the temple of 
Kamak, which is supposed to be that of Ammon, the Egyp- 
tian Jupiter. An immense gateway opens into the great 
outer court of the temple, which is 275 feet by 329, and haa 
a covered corridor on each side. A double row of pillars 
once ran down the middle, but now only one single column 
remains perfect, though there are portions of five others. 
Beyond is the entrance to the great hall itself, certainly one 

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of the wonders of the world, whose dimensions are 170 feet 
by 329 feet. Its roof is supported by a central avenue of 
twelve stupendous columns, each 62 feet high and nearly 12 
feet in diameter ; also 122 lesser columns 42 feet high and 9 
in diameter, extend in regular rows parallel with the central 
pillars. Two large towers close in the hall on titds side, and 
beyond is a perfect wilderness of desolation. Vast heaps of 
enormous blocks of sandstone are piled one on another, in 
every conceivable form, as if some tremendous earthquake 
had destroyed the buildings. Amidst this chaos of ruins 
two fine obelisks rise out of the mass — one 92 feet high, the 
other a good deal less, and injured about the base. Great 
fragments of granite are strewed about, being portions of 
another large obelisk which once stood here ; and as I sat on 
one of those blocks towards sunset, when all around was 
still and deserted, the whole scene was one of impressive 
grandeur. I could not help reflecting with astonishment 
upon the wonderful power which had raised these great monu- 
ments, and the equally great force which must have been 
exerted to destroy them. Still more striking was the sight 
of the colossal remains when I revisited them by moonlight. 
Then, in the pale radiance of the lustrous orb of night, all 
was softened, subdued, and pervaded by the most intense 
repose; the deathlike calm only broken by the distant 
baying of a watchdog, or the shrill screech of some wander« 
ing owl. The wilderness of ruins looked more awftilly 
desolate than ever; each lofty obelisk gleamed cold and 
ghostly in the moonlight, and the great rows of columns. 

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partly shrouded in deep shade, partly illumined by the 
moon's wan rays, added powerfully to the weird grandeur of 
the scene. 

The usual practice of our party was to take lunch at a 
certain period of the day most agreeable to all of us. Our 
dragoman invariably accompanied us, and the expeditions on 
shore, in fiu5t, resolved themselves into a series of pic-nics, 
with the usual accessories held to be indispensable at such 
gatherings ; that is to say, an ample supply of cold fowls, 
tongue, hard-boiled eggs, and similar al fresco edibles, was 
stowed away in a hamper, and you may be quite sure that 
in a company where the Anglo-Saxon element so largely 
predominated there was no lack of pale ale, bottled stout, 
and dry sherry. Not the least interesting or agreeable of 
the day's » occupations was our much- appreciated luncheon, 
which, the time we visited Kamak, was spread out in the 
great hall, whose mighty columns afforded a grateful shade 
from the powerful rays of the sun. We all took up our 
positions in the way that we found most comfortable. Our 
jovial professor reclined upon a gigantic fallen capital and 
discoursed with volubility, in very good English, upon the 
great Bameses, the excellent cold turkey our dragoman had 
provided, the theory of beauty, and other matters. The 
American ladies, who were always a centre of attraction to 
the gallant gentlemen of our party, were accommodated with 
shawls, rugs, and other comforts, to lessen the decidedly un- 
pleasant effect of too immediate a contact with the sculptured 
'figures of heroes and gods, against which they rested their 

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feir forms. Our travelled Hibernians, who were enthusiastic 
sketchers, did not give that amount of deliberate attention to 
the serious business of the luncheon which might have been 
expected ; and the charms of cold roast chickens, with the 
herbaceous accompaniment of fresh salad, were actually dis- 
regarded for the pleasure of taking a correct copy of the 
sculptured portrait of some defunct Pharaoh holding in both 
hands several struggling prisoners by the hair of their heads** 
But every one to his taste ; and, indeed, due justice was done 
to the viands, to which pleasant badinage and chaff succeeded 
while cigars or cigarettes shed their aromatic fragrance 

One most unseemly feature of these pic-nic visits to the 
marvellous Egyptian ruins was strongly, but unsuccessfully 
protested against by us. The dragoman would persist in 
taking a horrible dinner-bell with him, so as to keep the party 
together, by its incessant clangour, when we were in danger 
of straggling too far among the temples and huge ruins, and 
so delaying our progress. Imagine the result of this dread- 
ful bell-ringing amidst the majestic glories of Kamak, or the 
cavernous solitudes of the Tombs of the Kings ! It certainly 
had a ludicrous effect, and was a very decided step from the 
sublime to the ridiculous. 

Thebes is a favourite stopping-place for all dahabeahs going 
up the river, and there were some five or six of them at 
anchor when we arrived. One very large dahabeah flying the 
British flag had on board a gentleman and his wife, the 
former a well-known and respects landed proprietor in the 

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west of Scotland, in addition to being one of the merchant 
princes of Glasgow. Along with them were two young friends 
from the vicinity of the romantic Vale of Leven, whose charms 
have been so sweetly sung by one of Scotland's distinguished 
sons ; and as I knew the whole party, I enjoyed two very 
agreeable evenings on board the splendid dahabeah, whose 
hospitalities were so gracefully dispensed to a party of guests 
by Mr. and Mrs. B. Little did I dream that the genial host 
would, a few short months afterwards, fill an untimely grave 
beside the waters of the Danube ! 

As a rule, you are very safe to encounter friends at Thebes, 
and as by the steamer's regulations we were to spend three 
days here, we had time to organise expeditions, arrange for 
transmission of letters, purchase antiquities and photographs^ 
and compare notes with those who travelled in the good old 
luxurious dahabeah. The first night of our arrival we were 
duly favoured with a visit from the inevitable Mr. Smith, an 
American gentleman, who has lived here for fourteen years, 
and interests himself, to a considerable extent, in the anti- 
quities of the spot. Mr. Smith appeared to have no very 
exalted opinion of the whole system of affairs in Egypt, and 
I suspect he would be glad enough to exchange his abode 
for some more civilised locality. 

Another invariable visitor on board dahabeahs and steamers 
is Mxistapha Aga, who officiated as British consul. He speaks 
very fair English, is a courteous and cheerful elderly gentle- 
man, and greatly enjoys the good fare which he gets from 
hospitable travellers. Mustapha does a good business in 

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starahei and other antiquities, gives nnlimited coffee and 
pipes of tobacco if you pay him a visit, and will be happy 
to improvise an entertainment by the ghewdxee, for which, 
however, a due consideration must be paid* Several of the 
European Powers are represented by consuls here, most of 
whom do a good photograph and antiquity business. As 
usual, near the landing-place there is generally a miscellane- 
ous collection of the noisy troublesome characters who wait 
for travellers, some of whom are difficult to shake off. 

Now let us cross the river to view the great remains of 
other temples and tombs which attest to the magnificence of 
Thebes in ages gone by. After walking across the fertile 
plain for some miles, you first arrive at the smaller temple of 
Medinef Habou. It is much destroyed, and a ruinous Arab 
village which once flourished here interferes with the pic- 
turesque remains of the temple. But the greater temple 
beyond is well worthy a visit. A massive outer wall of sand- 
stone with some fine figures sculptured on it, faces you as 
you approach the entrance. The walls are very thick, and 
passing into the first court of the temple, you see on how 
great a scale it was constructed. In the hall beyond, four 
rows of lofty pillars running down each side form a noble 
corridor, and everywhere are sculptured the most spirited 
and admirably preserved hieroglyphics and figures. There 
ore numerous battle scenes, kings driving in chariots over 
prostrate captives, gods receiving offerings, priests sacrificing, 
almost all in colours, the tints of which are wonderftilly fresh. 
The ceiling of the corridors, composed of great horizontal 

B 2 

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stone blocks, is of a beantifal sky blue, studded with golden 
stars. From this point to the so-called memnordvm is more 
than a mile, and here we find some noble remains of sculp- 
tures. The temple was large — 640 feet long by 200, and 
majestic remains of columns and statues, a good many of 
them still in position, testify to its former magnificence. 
Here are the huge fragments of the stupendous colossal 
granite statue of Eameses the Great, which measured 63 feet 
round the shoulders and 18 feet from the crown of the head 
to the top of the shoulders. The Arabs, who are sad icono- 
claBts, haye cut millstones out of his face, but his destruction, 
and that of many of the Titanic buildings of Thebes, is pro- 
bably due to the Persian conqueror Cambyses. As Dean 
Stanley remarks, with his usual eloquence and correctness, 
* nothing which now exists in the world can give any notion 
of what the eflEect must have been when he was erect. Nero 
towering above the Colosseum may have been something like 
it, but he was of bronze and Eameses was of solid granite. 
Nero was standing without any object ; Eameses was resting 
in awful majesty after the conquest of the then known 
world. No one who entered that building, whether it were 
temple or palace, could have thought of anything else but 
that stupendous being who had thus raised himself up above 
the whole world of gods and men.* 

Our luncheon party this day was held under the grateful 
shade of the noble columns of the memnoniumy and these 
grand fragments of antiquity were, in addition, honoured by 
the exalted presence of the Grand Duke of Mecklenburgh, 

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who had a party of friends with him. All our way up the 
Nile as tax as Assouan, and snbsequentlj at Shepheard's 
Hotel^ and at Ismailia, we were constantly enoonntering his 
Boyal and Serene Highness, who, by the way, seemed a most 
unpretending and courteous gentleman, with a pleasant smile 
and a mild blue eye, though no doubt, like that of Mars, it 
could * threaten and command.' This redoubtable warrior, 
who certainly made an example of the unhappy ^ men with 
muskets,' so liberally supplied for slaughter by M. Gambetta 
and his friends in 1870, seemed to be more intent upon in- 
yestigating the mysteries of a cold pie than inspecting the 
colossal remains of the mighty Eameses, which lay in mourn- 
ful grandeur at his elbow. There were, in addition to hi3 
gentlemen friends, some four or five ladies, attired in ex- 
cessively plain style, with hats and blue veils on, and simple 
brown travelling dresses. By &x the most ^ dressy ' of the 
grand-ducal party were the domestics who served the lunch, 
two of them being magnificent individuals in a sort of stage 
brigand costume. Our own two excellent German friends 
^fore gathered,' to use a Scotch phrase, with their distin- 
guished fdUlow-countryman, and were received by the Grand 
Duke with flattering courtesy and consideration. Still, 
although it may be very deUghtfdl to British, and most 
especially to American, travellers, to rub shoulders with 
grand dukes and grand duchesses amidst the glories of 
Thebes, we found it the reverse of agreeable to observe that^ 
invariably, at the landing-places the best donkeys and least 
objectionable donkey-drivers were secured for the ducal party 

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wLile our noble persons were fain to be carried by broken- 
winded, flore-backed, half-starved, and miserable wretches, 
innocent of saddles or anything to mitigate the seyerity of 
their hard unyielding backs. 

Some little distance from the ruemnoniu/niy on the way to 
the riyer, are the two celebrated Colossi of the plain, the 
vast sitting statues of Amunoph, which form very conspicuous 
objects in the landscape. They are all that remain of an 
avenue of eighteen similar statues, and the tahle goes that 
when the morning sun's rays beat upon the face ofoneof the 
sitting giants which still rests here in. grim repose, his lips 
uttered musical sounds. They are certainly grand figures, 
with their hands resting on the knees, but no feature of the 
face can be traced on either, while great cracks and seams 
extend across their bodies in all directions. StiU, their im- 
mense height, about 60 feet, their noble outlines, and the 
magnificent background of red rocky mountains which at 
this point run up to a considerable elevation, form a picture 
that strongly impresses the spectator. 

The Tombs of the Kings must form our closing glance at 
the wonders of Thebes. They are situated some miles from 
the river in a most sterile, dreary, scorching and desolate 
valley of the western limestone mountains. Great burntr 
looking rocky precipices rise up all around, not a blade of 
^grass is to be seen, the path is a mere dried-up watercourse, 
,and everywhere the silence of death reigns around. The 
tombs are hewn out of the solid rock, and may more fittingly 
be termed palaces than tombs, for they are entered by long 

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passages which lead to chamber after chamber of lofty pro- 
portions xmiil, at last, the dark hall is reached which con* 
tained the sarcophagus of the king, with his embalmed re- 
mains within its ^ ponderous and marble jaws.' Each wall 
and roof is coTored with vividly life-like representations of 
scenes and objects which^ when the monarch was alive, must 
have every day met his eyes. Scenes of hunting, fishing, 
banqueting, sporting, Tnanufacturing, and agriculture — all 
are depicted on the walls in colours, fresh as if executed but 
yesterday. Most minute representations of the daily life 
and domestic economy of a wealthy Egyptian magnate 
testify to the exceeding luxury in which these persons lived. 
In one celebrated tomb, called Brace's, or the Harpers' tomb, 
are depicted most curious drawings of furniture, chairs and 
sofas just like our own, jars, vases, mirrors, gold, silver, and 
glass ornaments, agricultural implements and similar arti- 
cles. Immense labour must have been bestowed on the 
decorations of some of these tombs, and yet all this profuse 
ornamentation was, on the death of the king, intended to be 
hidden for ever from mortal gaze; for, after burial, the 
tomb was closed, the entrance carefully blocked up and con- 
cealed, apparently through a jealous desire on the part of 
the dead monarch that his august remains should never be 
profistned by sacrilegious hand. 

' Can storied um or animated bust 
Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath P 

Can Honour's voice provoke the silent dust. 
Or Flattery soothe the dull cold ear of Death P ' 

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Tain, futile hope ! For the aU-pervadiog English trayeUer, 
or scientific man, coolly appropriates the royal mommy, and 
packs it off in a hamper per rail and steamer to London ; and 
in some Crystal Palace or proyincial museum all that is 
mortal of a mighty Pharaoh or Ptolemy may be seen in its 
own particular glass case, for the consideration of a trifling 
current coin of the realm, possibly — on certain days of the 
week — ^freo. 

Some of our party, instead of returning through that 
terrible scorching, white, stony yalley, climbed up the steep 
mountainous ascent at the back of the chief range of tombs, 
and were rewarded by a glorious view over the entire plain 
of Thebes which lies at your feet- In front is a tremendous 
precipice, hundreds of feet deep, at whose base may be traced 
a confused mass of ancient remains extending all the way 
to the memnonvum. Beyond come the temples of Medinet 
Habou, the noble Colossi of the plain, in their solitary 
grandeur, the rich, green, fertile zone of vegetation, the 
broad glistening river, and the wilderness of ruins towards 
Luxor and Kamak, the whole picture bounded by the oppo- 
site ridge of Arabian mountains. 

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Assouan at last ! Here our steamer stops on her upward 
voyage, for this is the extreme point to which she can well 
proceed. After a brief visit to the famous ancient granite 
quarries of Syene, the Island of Elephantine, and the beauti- 
ful, solemn, and fascinating Philae, we must reluctantly re- 
sume our return to Cairo. As we near Assouan, where many 
of the dahabeahs also terminate their upward voyage, the 
river scenery changes its character considerably. The sandy 
desert becomes of a deeper yellow tinge, the rocks are darker 
and more sombre in colour, while only a small strip of vege- 
tation extends between the river's bank and the slopes of the 

Assouan is beautifully situated, being embosomed in palm 
groves, surrounded by rocky lulls, having the gracefully out- 
lined woody Island of Elephantine opposite in mid-stream, 
and the steep, sloping banks of the valley, variegated with 
a few scattered ruins of houses and mosques, close in the 
view. Here, too, congregate a number of dancing-girls, 
profusely decorated with jewellery, gaudy scarves, and other 

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female fineiy ; and eyen more demonstrative in their adyances 
are a legion of vendors of red clay pottery manufactures, 
ostrich feathers, ivory-hiltecl daggers, old coins, glass bangles, 
turquoises^ fency silks, warlike implements, and similar 
articles suitable for the taste of the British tourist. At 
Assouan also you experience your first sensation of the 
delights, such as they arc, of camel-riding, as the * ship of 
the desert * is put in requisition to transport you to Philae, 
nearly five miles off. 

After threading your way through the poor bazaars and 
lanes of the straggling village, you come out upon the granite 
quarries, which extend in different directions till they cover 
a. considerable area of ground. Then the track leads along 
a broad strip of gravelly desert, at a distance of more than a 
mile from the river's bank, until you reach the few scattered 
mud houses a little way below Philae. Accompanied by a 
friend, I made my way off the main track down to the river, 
to see what one hears so often mentioned, the ' First Cata- 
ract.' A very poor specimen of a cataract indeed it is t 
The river is confined between narrow ridges of rocks, which 
are scattered about in picturesque confusion, and the stream 
rushes past them with some velocity and turmoil, but there 
is little perceptible fall or whirl of troubled waters. A man 
swam down the principal rapid for our benefit, and we were 
besieged by a lot of small naked boys for baelesheesL Some 
little distance above this, the banks of the river exhibit a 
marvellous peculiarity and grandeur of outline. Great fan- 
tastic masses of black porphyry and granite tower upwards 

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£rom nnmerous small islands stadding the river's bed, and 
in many cases ihej assume the forms of rained oasUes or 
monstrons figures seemingly canred in the adamantine rock 
by some Titanic hand. 

Philae is a small island, but completely coTered with ruins 
which crown its heights, and extend in terraces along its 
sides, while pahn, acacia, and other luxuriant trees clothe 
the mouldering columns and prostrate capitals with a lovely 
surrounding of green. The large temple is dedicated to 
Isis, and is profusely decorated with coloured figures, the 
painting of which is vivid and fresh. Many of the capitals 
of the pillars are bright with rich blue and green colouring, 
and some noble avenues of columns extend in lofty perspec- 
tive from the main building towards the river. The sand* 
stone of which these remains are constructed is of a light 
brown tint, and this colour predominates in the small, elegant, 
ix)ofless temple called ^ Pharaoh's bed.' In some of the inner 
sanctuaries of the larger temple, a deep solemn gloom pre- 
vails, and the contrast is dazzling when you emerge into the 
glorious sunshine, with the intensely blue sky of Africa 
forming an azure canopy overhead. Prom the top of a lofty 
pylon, at the entrance of the great temple, a varied panorama 
is seen— a shimmering, silvery, calm river, dark, fix)wning, 
weird rocks, groups of palm and sycamore trees, dusky 
villages, slender strips of cultivated land, tuid the distant 
mountains of Nubia bounding the horizon. 

Elephantine Island, opposite to Assouan, should be visited, 
though there is little to see beyond a few small ruins, and a 

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Nilometer for taking the height of the inundation^ consist- 
ing merely of a staircase partially coTcred oyer, and open to 
the riyer at its foot, with a few measuring marks notched on its 
sides. The island appears to be chiefly populated by women 
and children, the latter attired in the scantiest possible 
costume, though the girls had invariably the usual fringe of 
leather cut into thongs round their waist. They were yery im- 
portunate for us to buy shells, pebbles, necklaces, and other 
trinkets. We did purchase a good many of the articles sold 
in the Assouan bazaars, at a yery moderate price ; especially 
some really elegantly figured coffee cups and drinking vessels, 
with delicate arabesque patterns traced on them. Some of 
us also did a little amateur banking with a gentleman in an 
English dahabeah, who, having spent all his available coin, 
was anxious to turn into this useful commodity one or two 
of his circular notes. 

At length, on Monday, February 5, we very reluctantly 
commenced our homeward voyage a little after noon. We 
had been compelled to leave unexplored the wonders of 
Nubia and the majestic rock-hewn temple of Ipsambul, for, 
as Tam O'Shanter found to his cost, 

'Nae man can tether time or tide.' 

That afternoon wo passed the fine remains of the temple of 
Eom Ombos, which are placed high up the steep river's bank 
in a very commanding and striking position. Standing in 
front of the temple, you have an extensive view over plain 
and river, which here makes a rather sharp curve. The 

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tempte is bnilt of enormotis blocks of sandstone^ and the 
pillars^ thirteen of which remain, are of huge girth and deco- 
rated with massive capitals and cornices, but the drifting 
sand has filled up the entire building as &r as nearly three- 
fourihs the height of the columns. The architraves and 
blocks of ^ne forming the roof are of very large proportions, 
some of them more than 20 feet long, and the entire structure 
is of unusual massiveness and solidity, considering its'dimen- 
sions. Not very far from this are the extensive sandstone 
quarries of Silsillis, from whence the materials were derived 
to build the great temple at Thebes and elsewhere. The 
princupal quarries are on your lefb hand in ascending the 
river, but on the other side there are some smaller ones, and 
several curious grottoes cut out of the rock; one of the 
latter is decorated with four pillars, and the corridor, which 
is covered with some rude hieroglyphics, is arched. At this 
point the river is confined between rocky banks, within com- 
paratively a narrow channel, and the current is consequently 
strong. Here we encountered a very large dahabeah, having 
on board a party of eleven tourists, ladies and gentlemen, 
* personally conducted ' by Mr. Gaze, a rival entrepreneur to 
the far-famed Mr. Cook. We had some conversation with 
' one of the party, an English clergyman, and learned that, 
owing to incessant contrary winds, they had rather a dreary 
time of it, though otherwise he spoke favourably of the 
menage and mode of life. 

Our steamer was brought-up on the right bank, and we 
crossed to the other side in a clumsy, overcrowded boat* The 

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quarries are a very interesting aight in their undisturbed 
silence and neglect, without a solitary human being stirrings 
where once so many myriads congregated who made the 
banks of Old Nile to resound with their strokes and dis- 
cordant din. There are acres upon acres of deep excavations^ 
most of them heaped up with great accumulations of beauti- 
fully smooth sand, though here and there the wind has 
fashioned singular ridges and furrows in the soft mass. Out 
of these hollows the great faces of rock rise, from whence - 
layer upon layer of immense stones had, thousands of years 
ago, been patiently excavated. Indenting them in all direc- 
tions may be seen the marks of picks and wedges, sometimes 
also grooves for ropes, and innumerable evidences of the 
nature of the work performed with so much labour. The 
dullest imagination can have little diflSculty in peopling this 
scene with its once teeming array of occupants, their strange 
costumes and barbarous dialect, all labouring for the glorify- 
ing of some mysterious potentate whom they were taught 
to reverence as a god. 

Esneh was our next stopping-place, where we brought-to 
for some time, to enable us to see the noble portico of an 
ancient temple built in the time of the Emperor Tiberius. 
The rest of the building is covered over with rubbish, and 
judging from what has already been uneai-thed, future exca- 
vators would be richly rewarded for their labours. You enter 
from a narrow street in the town, descending by a flight of 
stairs rudely constructed of earth and blocks of wood, until 
you stand under the grand portico. It has twenty-four very 

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fine massiTe oolomns, all quite perfect, from the base up- 
wards, and a deep gloom preyails in this majestic yestibule, 
owing to its being so much below the lerel of the surronnd- 
ing ground. The capitals of the columns are ahnost all of 
different patterns, some being e series of palm leayes, others 
lotus leayes and flowers, some a mixture of both plants, others 
of fluted and wreathed patterns — in short, a rich feast awaits 
the eye of the architect or archaeologist. The pillars are all 
coyered with figures, but not so sharply cut as in many other 
temples we saw, but the walls, sides, and roof of the portico 
are decorated with large and well-cut hieroglyphics. On 
the roof is a zodiac, something similar to that of Dendera, 
but so blackened by the smoke of travellers' torches that it 
is difficult to trace its formation. 

We were hospitably treated by the goremor of the town 
to coffee, which was brought by two of hit emissaries, for our 
behoof, and, seated on a few wooden chairs, we drank the 
fragrant beverage, and leisurely surveyed the noble columns, 
for whose disinterment travellers are indebted to the enter- 
prise of Mehemet Ali. After our curiosity had been satis- 
fied, we wandered away through some of the streets of the 
town, accompanied by an admiring throng of natives of 
both sexes. There is certainly not much to see, nor any- 
thing tempting to purchase. We watched the operation of 
grinding com between two revolving stones kept in motion 
by a donkey, and looked into a mosque, where a number of 
men were engaged in worship. 

Here, as at various other of our stopping-places, we took 

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in a supply of coal, which is kept stored in heaps surrounded 
by a slight fence of dried reeds, for the use of the steamers* 
A dirty disagreeable operation it was, filling the atmosphere 
with clouds of fine black dust, and making a mess of eyery- 
thing about the decks. The work is performed by a number 
of the poor peasants, chiefly women and children, who are 
forced to do this without dny remuneration from the autho* 
rities. The unfortunate fellahemy who were half-naked 
and miserable, carried the coals on their heads in small 
baskets, and they ran up and down the bank in Indian file, 
urged on by one or two men with whips, who superintended 
the work. It takes a number of them to get through the 
job, though you may be sure they are not allowed to linger 
over the operation. When it is oyer, they all congregate on 
the bank and look with interest upon, the steamer and its 
passengers, who, on such occasions, appear on deck, and 
occasionally fling copper coins and oranges among the dusky 

Between this place and Edfou we got an excellent view of 
the famous constellation the Southern Cross, which, for a 
short time, appears above the horizon in these latitudes. 
We had given instructions to be called in good time; and 
accordingly at about three in the morning, I, among others, 
was roused from my balmy slumbers to go on deck. Here I 
was soon after joined by four or five other gentlemen, for 
the ladies did not venture to put in an appearance, and 
we were rewarded with an excellent view of the southern 
stranger, which is a cluster of brilliant stars, more of the 

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outline of a kite than a cross^ the centre star being very in- 
distinct. A glorious night it was^ the dark purple sky 
enamelled with the clear lustrous jewels of pale fire from 
one horizon to the other, and all earth and river hushed into 
profound repose, broken only by the faintest ripple of the 
water. Next morning, upon our rallying the members of 
our party who preferred the charms of Morpheus to the 
glories of the astronomical display which we had witnessed^ 
we were assured that they also had seen the constellation 
the previous night, soon after ten o'clock. Naturally we 
were strongly sceptical on this point; but it was mere 
' cha£P,' for there is no doubt that the veritable cross only is 
seen above the horizon, where we lay, for a short period in 
the small hours of the morning. 

Edfou, which is but a short distance firom Esneh, has for 
its great attraction the temple partly built by Ptolemy Phi- 
lometer, certainly by far the most perfect in point of pre- 
servation of any in Egypt. A walk of half-an-hour brings 
you from the landing-place to the modem, dirty town, with 
its mud-built houses, squalid population, barking dogs, and 
other nuisances. You pass right through the town, and 
then come -upon the immense temple, to enter which you 
descend into a sort of hollowed-out moat running all round 
the building, which, at one time, was nearly altogether 
covered over with earth. The fa9ade of the temple is noble 
and imposing, with its two grand pyramidal towers forming 
the pylon, each of them 120 feet high. A staircase, built in 
the thickness of the wall, leads to the summit of each tower; 


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and very remarkable it is to see, more than 100 feet from 
the ground, gigantic blocks of sandstone laid in position. 
The lofty walls on both sides of the pylon are sculptured with 
colossal figures, and we see the arrangement here by which 
the enormous flagstafifs were held £eu9t, so as to overtop eyen 
the huge towers. Four very deep grooyes are cut in the 
pylon, two on each side of the entrance-door, extending from 
the ground more than half-way up to the top, so as to 
receive the great beams of wood. The vast outer court of 
the temple is of noble proportions, and round three sides of 
it there are massive columns, while it is entirely paved with 
stone. Beyond this succeeds a hall, or rather portico, lead- 
ing into the temple itself, with eighteen fine columns sup- 
porting the roof. Then comes a dark vestibule, with twelve 
grand columns, and out of this are entrances to several 
small dark chambers used by the priests. After passing 
through two small courts, the adytum^ or sanctuary, is 
reached, where stands an immense mass of grey granite, 
hollowed out so as to form a sort of sentry-box, which is in 
fact the Bcmctvm satichrum, where was kept the sacred hawk, 
tjie emblem of the divinity of the temple. 

We ascended by a tortuous staircase to the roof of the 
temple, and gazed with wonderment into its dark and mys- 
terious recesses. The pavements, halls, pillars, and roo& 
are nearly perfect, and the interior of the vast building is 
kept scrupulously clean, no village Arabs being suffered to 
enter its precincts. A narrow open passage runs the whole 
way round the building; between it and the outside wall of 

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circumyallation, and on either wall of this, are scnlptored 
most interesting and remarkably perfect pictorial represen- 
tations. It wonld take weeks to examine these minute 
figures, and eyen to attempt to describe them would occupy 
&r too great a space in this humble yolume. We were all 
profoundly impressed with the grandeur of this yery perfect 
temple ; and, upon the whole, it brings before one the actual 
picture which a great Egyptian temple of old must haye 
presented when it was ready to receiye a motley crowd 
of worshippers summoned to behold the imposing rites 
celebrated by a royal priesthood. 

But time goes on, and T must hasten my indulgent readers 
down the stream, merely stopping an hour at Luxor to enable 
our passengers to enquire for letters and buy a few photo- 
graphs, passing Thebes, Keneh, and Dendera, until we bring 
up at Bellianeh, close to a recently constructed landing-place 
for the Viceroy. His Highness was expected to yisit a recent 
acquisition in the sugar-factory line, and to enable him to 
make a short tour inland a road was being specially got up 
for the occasion. Hundreds of unfortunate wretches were 
at work digging away at the hard soil with miserable wooden 
shoyels and picks, aU for the purpose of enabling the honoured 
donkey which carried His Highness's rather corpulent person 
to moye along without stumbling. Howeyer, in this instance 
we were disposed to look leniently upon the forced labour 
system, for it enabled us to get the benefit of a road where 
none foimerly existed ! After a time we struck across the 
fields of barley and beans, and, at a distance of nearly eight 

F 2 

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miles from the river, we found the ruins of which we were 
in search. They were those of the famous temple of Abydus, 
and are now all that remain of a once great city which 
flourished in its pristine magnificence about 3,500 years ago. 
It was second only to majestic Thebes, and here Osiris and 
the great Bameses were buried. The ruins are on a spacious 
scale. There is a large vestibule, the roof supported by 
twenty-four fine columns in two rows, and an inner and 
larger hall with thirty-six columns in three rovTS. Various 
smaller chambers open out from the large halls, in some of 
whiph may be seen the singular arched roofs peculiar to this 
temple. The vast blocks of stone, perhaps twenty or twenty- 
five feet long, the ends of which rest on either wall, are 
hollowed out in the centre into the form of an arch — an opera- 
tion involving considerable labour to the stonemasons of the 
period. Many of the smooth stone waUs are covered vrith 
finely sculptured Sesigns of gods, kings, warriors, horse and 
foot combatants, animals, birds, &c., some of them in a con- 
dition absolutely perfect, though the cunning hand that 
wrought them vrithered into dust thirty-five centuries ago. 
A good many of the figures are coloured, the faces, arms, 
and legs red, the ornaments and dress yellow. From this 
temple was removed, in 1818, the famous stone tablet, con- 
taining a list of the various kings and their dynasties, which 
is now a valued possession of the British Museum. Close to 
the great temple is the smaller one built by Osiris, which is 
in utter ruins, but still beautiful amidst its desolation. Here 
the traveller sees great blocks of highly polished oriental 

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alabaster, that once formed part of the sanctuary, now lying 
scattered about for all comers to break away as many speci- 
mens as they please— a most reprehensible bit of vandaUsm, 
by the way. 

We have now pretiy well exhausted the programme which 
is set before voyagers in the Khedive's passenger steamers ; 
and from this point hardly any stoppages are made until you 
reach Memphis, or rather the place for disembarking to get 
to the site of that ancient city. This was our last excur^ 
sion from the steamer; and by half-past four on the 
afternoon of Monday, Tebruary 12, we reached the port of 
Boulac and resumed our former berth close to the fleet of 

And so closed our brief glimpse at some of the wonders of 
this remarkable land, on almost every rood of which one 
might exclaim, * Stop ! for thy tread is on an empire's dust.' 
From the very earliest ages of the world, down the long 
stream of time till the present day, the greatest names of 
history have been associated with Egypt. Thither wandered 
the early patriarchs from the scorching Chaldean deserts. 

' I had boon so fortunate as to see tho ruins of Memphis, theSerapenm, and the 
marrellons Tombs of the Bulls, under rery &Tourable circumstances. The Viceroj 
had put a special train at the disposal of a well-known English nobleman, who 
had giTen His Highness the use of his splendid town house on the occasion of the 
latter^s visit to London. I was kindly asked to join the party, amongst whom were 
some scientific men of European celebrity, Sir William Armstrong being one of 
their number. The day was lovely, the company most agreeable, and the excursion 
altogether extremely succeesfuL The princely style in which Lord and Lady D. 
travelled in £Sgypt, with their retinue of attendants, must have rather surprised 
the poverty-stricken natives of the country. 

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tmd instead of the poor tents and brick hovels of their native 
land, thej found all the colossal temples and gorgeous palaces 
of a royal priesthood. What mighty names — many of them 
surrounded with a gilded halo of fabulous renown, scarcely 
dimmed even by the mist of ages — ^have interwoven them- 
selves with the majestic traditions of this mysterious land. 
A princely list of conquerors blazes in dazzling lustre on the 
horizon of its history; some with the lurid, blinding, moment- 
ary flash of a meteor, others irradiating the annals of their 
time by a long career of glory. Here, with all the pomp of 
barbaric oriental splendour, came the ruthless Persian Cam- 
byses; to him, long years after, succeeds the great Alexander, 
searching for more worlds to conquer; then a glittering 
galaxy of names enshrined in Eoman annals of conquest, 
the magnanimous Pompey, the politic and pleasure-loving 
Mark Antony, the illustrious Osesar, this brilliant triumvi- 
rate, who, after subduing the inhabitants of the then known 
world, were proud to own themselves vanquished by the 
bewitching fascinations of a Cleopatra; and in modem 
times the genius of Napoleon found fitting subject for 
display in this narrow land, so prolific in mighty achieve- 

But other reasons exist, apart from the grandeur of its 
past history and the rare charm of its intellectual lore, to 
invest the land of Egypt with undying interest in our eyes. 
Here were enacted those extraordinary wonders by which 
the Almighiy proved to the world that He had chosen a 
people, who should be the founders and pioneers of that true 

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worship wliicli alike superseded the vile rites of ancient 
superstition, as well as the dreamy mythology of polished 
Greece, with all its vague aspirations after an ideal morality. 
The sacred story of that exodus of the chosen, rendered erer 
memorable by the great and miraculous delirerance in the 
terrible passage of the Bed Sea, and culminating in the 
sublime revelation from Heaven amidst the awful glories of 
Mount Sinai, can surely never fail to attach supreme interest 
to the fertile valley of the Nile* To one privileged as I was 
to follow the wanderings of the children of Israel, from the 
land of GkMshen, along the sterile Arabian peninsula, until I 
stood on the summit of that majestic mountain where once 
the Almighty himself condescended to appear in His glory, 
it may be allowed to dwell with reverential fondness upon 
so magnificent a theme* The awe-stricken traveller stands 
overcome amidst the soul-stirring associations of this scene, 
overwhelmed by the towering, precipitous, red granite crags, 
the profound chasm-like valleys, the unutterable desolation 
and silence which reigns around ; above all, by the sight 
of the vast isolated form of the sacred mountain, which 
rocked to its adamantine centre at the dreadful presence of 
Jehovah, while the trumpet sounded ^ exceeding loud and 

By the side of so tremendous a Bevelation, how utterly do 
the miserable sneers of sceptics, the drivellings of modem 
atheists, the presumptuous deductions of science, the cold 
speculations of vague rationalism, sink into nothingness ! 
Only allow the infidel ideas — ^which, alas 1 are becoming but 

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too prevalent in our land — to prevail nnchallenged, and to 
what avail would be our boasted prosperity, our gigantic 
national wealth, our vast international trade, our iron 
girdles transmitting the keen electric spark from hemisphere 
to hemisphere P 

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The latter half of February is an excellent time to prepare 
for the start for Mount Sinai and the Desert, because the ex* 
cessive cold felt in the high latitudes of the peninsula during 
December and January will be avoided, and the traveller 
will reach the Holy Land after the * early rains ' are over. 

His first care, of course, will be to secure an efficient 
dragoman, whom he should have engaged previous to his 
voyage up the Nile, so that on his return all will be ready for 
a start. Dragomans abound in Alexandria, Cairo, Beyrout, 
and Jerusalem; but the difficulty is to get good ones. 
They hang about all the hotels — ^pleasant-spoken, agreeable 
Orientals, with their testimonials ever at hand to exhibit to 
intending travellers. Their charges vary according to the 
number of gentlemen of the party, the time to be occupied 
on the journey, and other circumstances. From 12. 10«. to 
21. per diem, for each member of the party, is a very usual 
charge ; but if you propose to go to Petra, the scale will be 
inmiediately raised. One crack Alexandria dragoman gave 
me his terms as follows : — ^for a single gentleman, 42» per 

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diem ; two gentlemen, 52. per diem ; three, at 61. a day ; and 
four, at 71. each day. But a good deal will depend upon the 
fact of there being many dragomans disengaged at the time 
they are wanted, and especially upon the length of the en- 
gagement. The one that we were fortunate enough to get 
was Achmet-el-Fichawi, an inhabitant of Cairo, and an ex- 
cellent specimen of the liberal, good-tempered and obliging 
dragoman, so difficult to fall in with. It is usual in the 
contract — a very elaborate document, divided into some 
twenty heads, containing minute specifications — ^to fix what 
sum of money shall be paid before leaving Cairo, what at 
Mount Sinai, and Jerusalem, and other places. This 
arrangement, however, we did not adhere to ; and, in fitct, 
with a trustworthy dragoman, such as our excellent Aohmet, 
the provisions of the agreement become a mere matter of 

We had arranged, before starting on our Nile expedition, 
the day we would be ready to leave Cairo, and Achmet had 
bben busy laying in the necessary stock of provisions for the 
journey. He had negotiated with one of the sheikhs of the 
Tawarah tribe of Arabs, who have the right to convey tra- 
vellers all over the peninsula of Mount Sinai, for the proper 
escort and supply of camels which would be needed. There 
are always a number of these Arab magnates hovering near 
the principal hotels, and they soon get together the necessary 
number of their followers. Camels, tents, and Bedawin are 
all at hand ; and the traveller has the satisfaction of seeing 
his tent set up on the most convenient plot of waste ground 

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\^ ' 


near his hotel ; and may entertain, as we did, his friends to 
luncheon or dinner in the canvas dwelling which is to be his 
home for the next sixty days. 

Of course it will be understood that the sum per day, 
quoted above, does not include wine or liquors of any sort ; 
therefore those who propose to indulge in something more 
stimulating than the infrequent springs of the desert^ will 
do well to pay a visit to some of the establishments where 
the juice of the grape may be procured to any amount. We 
eschewed beer, which is expensive and does not go nearly so 
far as wine, and laid in a good supply of marsala and claret, 
either of which, mixed with water, forms a refreshing beve- 
rage. In the Holy Land no one need desire a better drink 
than a draught of the glorious pure water which gushes 
forth so liberally almost in all parts of Palestine ; but I must 
onfess that the water of the desert^ though drinkable, is not 
inviting. The dragoman will go to the shop with his new 
employers, and submit a list of what he proposes to take with 
him in the shape of supplies, and assuredly we had no 
reason to complain of want of liberality in the cuidne de- 
partment. A good supply of tobacco is most necessary, to 
dispense in gifts to various sheikhs and men in authority 
who will be encountered en route ; and a few trifling presents, 
such as a good clasp knife, a silk hufiyeh, or a cheap pistol 
or two, will be found very much appreciated, and may sur- 
mount some awkward difficulties. 

As for clothing, very few articles are needed beyond those 
I mentioned in a previous chapter ; but it will bo well to see 

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that a very strong pair of boots are included, if the traveller 
means to ascend Mount Sinai, J6bel Serb^, and other giants 
of the peninsula. A correct aneroid barometer for indicating 
heights of mountains is an invaluable companion, and a good 
field-glass or telescope should be taken. Books occupy 
space, and, as a rule, will not be much read. Murray's in- 
valuable ^Hand-book,' Dean Stanley's * Sinai and Palestine,* 
and one or two miscellaneous works, are all that will be 
needftd ; for generally most men are too fatigued of an 
evening, after eight or nine hours' camel-riding, and walking 
at intervals, to do much study. But a substantial blank 
book for a journal, a portable ink-bottle and pens, should on 
no account be omitted; and it ought to be considered a 
matter of duty to record each day's journeying as fully as 
possible. Above all, if it is intended to try and reach Petra, 
at least 601. extra in gold should be carried, over and above 
the ordinary expenses of each day, as stipulated in the con- 

As a rule it is necessary to go first to Akabah, about six 
days' journey from the convent of Moimt Sinai, to ascertain 
ft^m Sheikh Mohammed there if the route to the rock-hewn 
capital of Edom is open. The dragoman will see to getting 
the necessary letter to the Patriarch of the convent of Mount 
Sinai, without which admission will be refused. 

At length, on February 16, accompanied by my two 
travelling companions, I set off for Suez, vid Ismailia, so as 
to see the canal on our way. The gentlemen whose agree- 
able society I was privileged to share, for the next three 

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months nearly, were Mr. Charles Ashton a Leicestershire pro- 
prietor, formerly in a crack Lancer regiment, and Mr. Edward 
W. Gere an American gentleman, bnt who has for some years 
resided in Gloncester. We agreed that it was needless to 
start on camels from Cairo, so arranged to meet our drago* 
man at Suez about the 18th inst., thus giving ns time to see 
the canal. A long tedious journey it is to Ismailia. Leav- 
ing Cairo at half-past nine in the morning, we reached the 
former place at a little after five in the afternoon. The heat 
in the carriages was considerable, and there is little to repay 
one in the way of interesting scenery, for it is a mere waste 
of sand through which the railway winds. At Zagazig, 
from whence the line branches off to Suez, you get a miser- 
able and very dear lunch or early dinner j but you can make 
amends for shortcomings at the respectable table cPhSte at 
the Hotel Pagnon at Ismailia. Here we again encountered 
the Qrand Duke and his party, who had secured the best 
accommodation of the rather small hotel; but as we remained 
only one night in it, we were little inconvenienced. 

Certainly there is little to see at Lnnailia, which is a mere 
street or two of unfinished-looking French houses, most of 
them caf<6s and billiard-saloons, with a very deserted, dreary 
look about them ; and a few stunted trees, placed on both 
sides of the street, are no doubt intended to give the dignity 
of a hoidevard to the unpaved thoroughfare. At dinner we 
met two officials connected with the canal, who spoke ex- 
cellent English, and gave us a good deal of information as 
to the country. According to them, the Viceroy is very 

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rich, and the canal a distingnished success. He does in- 
deed work the forced-labonr system to the utmost, but he 
feeds the workmen ; and, when no money remuneration is 
given, he remits three years of taxation to them. Sugar is 
his trump card, and all proprietors of sugar-producing lands 
must sell the produce to the Viceroy at a certain fixed price. 

Next morning we disposed of the sights of Ismailia in 
about half-an-hour, and to see the canal we took places in 
the small postal steamer as far as Eantara, a station nearly 
15 miles off. Lake Timsah, where Ismailia stands, is a broad 
sheet of blue clear water, and the line of the canal is marked 
by rows of buoys and beacons at intervals dotting its shallow 
depths. As recently as 1866, it appears that the lake was 
a mere swamp, which could be easily crossed on foot. The 
actual cutting of the canal commences about two miles from 
the jetty at Ismailia ; and, after a curve of a few hundred 
yards, runs in a straight line for nearly ten miles. The banks 
have a clearly cut and substantial appearance, and seem 
hardening in consistency, not being mere loose slopes of 
sand ; while the water is of a deep blue tint,'^fresh as if flow- 
ing straight from the sea, and a gentle current towards Port 
Said is distinctly visible. The breadth at the water line 
varies from 190 to 880 feet; the width at bottom of the 
channel 72 feet ; and the depth, in most places, at least 
25 feet. Along one bank are rows of telegraph posts; and 
numerous great iron lifts, apparently for raising the sand 
from the canal during construction, are still left in position. 

We passed several large screw steamers, mostly Britie^, 

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slowly steaming along ; and I observed that thej created no 
wash at all, or the smaUest disturbance in the sandy banks ; 
though' one, the * Priam,' of Liverpool, drawing 18 feet of 
water, stirred up the sand of the bottom considerably. After 
Ferdane, a small station with one or two wooden houses built 
at the water's edge, tbe channel widens to double its pre- 
vious breadth. Various lakes and pieces of water, some 
nearly dried up, will be observed on nearing Eantara, beyond 
which will be seen the broad sheet of Lake Menzaleh. 
Eantara is a miserable cluster of wooden houses, two of them 
dignified by the name of hotels, which hold out to passers-by, * 
in several languages, intimation of the &LCt of dinners and 
other refreshments being procurable on short notice. On 
our way back to Ismailia we were afflicted by the presence 
of a military band sent, out of compliment to serenade the 
Grand Duke, who persistently played a barbarous march of 
oriental music, the most hideously discordant to musical 
ears. Very glad we were to get into the train at four o'clock, 
and about half-past eight that evening we found ourselves 
in the well-known and. comfortable ' Suez Hotel,' established 
by the P. & 0. Company for the convenience of passengers 
for Lidia. 

The sights of Suez need not occupy the traveller long $ but 
as this is the last place where anything in the way of Euro* 
pean necessaries can possibly be purchased, it is well to look 
through one's wardrobe and portmanteaus. The hotel was 
very empty, as it was the slack time between the arrival of 
one steamer and the departure of another^ so we had any 

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quantity of rooms to choose from. One of the days was an 
Arab festival, or fantasia^ as the local name for it appears to 
be, and we strolled through the streets to see "the affair. All 
the people were dressed in gay costumes ; the boys and girls 
with green, yellow, and red silks on, necklaces and bracelets 5 
the men with clean turbans and flowing white robes* In an 
open space near the town numerous games were going on. 
* Merry-go-rounds,* of rude wooden bars, swings with cages, 
each holding four or five children; a group of Nubians dancing 
to strange music made by two men with drums, a third with 
a rude harp, and a fourth, who had a quantity of mussel* 
shells tied round his waist, by rocking himself from side to 
side, made his shells sound like castanets. From this we 
strolled on to the cemetery, and here we saw some curious 
ceremonies. In one place a father, with his two wives and 
several children, were all seated at the grave, the man sing- 
ing a monotonous chant, while the women listened with 
bowed heads ; and there were a good many groups similarly 
occupied in uttering lamentations over their dead friends. 

There is nothing specially striking in the situation of 
Suez, which is placed at the head of the gulf, with extensive 
sandy plains environing it on one side, and the fine range of 
Jebel Atdkah bounds the Egyptian horizon. There are a few 
tolerably wide unpaved streets in the town, some decent 
houses, one of which is specially noticeable by the pretty 
garden surrounding it. One feature is the very long pier, 
extending nearly two miles into the shallow waters of the 
gulf, along which the railway runs to where the P. & 0. 

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steamers axe moored, Tlie population seems very mixed ; 
Arabs, Bedawin, Greeks, Italians, French, and a few English, 
all may be enconntered in the poor bazaars, Oatside of the 
town is a small camp of British soldiers, through whose 
courteous colonel, whom we met at Cairo, we heard of 
our dragoman. 

Towards sunset, the view from the plains around Suez is 
fine, ^e sun's rajs falling on the distant hills bathed 
them in a rosy hue, and those at our back assumed a cold 
purple tint; while the deep blue of the calm sea, and the 
yiolet colour of the wide Sinaitic desert, completed the 
picture. There is also a pleasant look-out from the verandah 
of the hotel, and in the cool evenings this is a capital place 
to smoke a quiet cigar. 

At last we are all ready for the start, and our faithful 
Achmet comes to take away our baggage, which is to be 
carried on camels round the head of the gulf, while we take 
boat across. On rebruary 20 we set sail from Suez in a 
humble native craft, and a fevourable breeze soon carried 
us past the long pier, until we reached the broad deep blue 
channel forming the Suez entrance to the canal. Not far 
from this we landed, and found our dromedaries waiting for 
us. After due adjustment of the multifarious furniture, bags 
and trappings, which the obedient animals carry, we took up 
a comfortable position on the soft Persian rug forming our 
saddle, and Were soon enjoying the novel sensation of camel- 
riding. Our way lay along the shore for more than two 
miles, over a firm rough sandy plain, with clearly-marked 


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tracks or pathways made by travellers and pUgrims. Boul- 
ders of stone are scattered about, but there is little vegetation 
except some wild onion plants. Soon the shore was left, and 
we turned towards the range of hills on which the setting 
sun was beating, giving them a beautiful pink colour ; and 
came to a tract of soft sand undulated with small hillocks 
and shallow wadya or hollows, beyond which, in the distance, 
we caught sight of the palm and tamarisk trees surrounding 
Ayiin Musa, or Moses' Wells. 

I was greatly struck here with the absolute stillness and 
solitariness of the scene ; not a sound could be heard, no note 
of a bird or hum of an insect fell upon the ear, and one went 
back in imagination to the wonderful sight which must have 
been witnessed, when the vast multitude of the Israelites 
covered the shore after escaping from the pursuing host who 
were engulphed in the terrible waters of the Eed Sea. Our 
tents were pitched between two of the palm groves surround- 
ing the wells, and we enjoyed to the full the novel sensations 
which all travellers experience at the commencement of their 
strange life of desert freedom, absolutely untrammelled by the 
restrictions of civilisation. The water of the wells is hot 
and brackish to the taste; there is nothing inviting about it. 

After dinner — a most luxurious meal, by the way, which 
did credit to our good-natured Nubian cook, by name Mersal, 
consisting of soup, two or three excellent eiitrSes, fowls, sweets, 
and a dessert of seven or eight dishes — we took a stroll to 
enjoy the delicious soft air of the desert. The whole scene 
was a picture, familiar indeed to old travellers, but inex- 

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pressiblj cliarming to me in its novelty. The moon had 
risen and bathed the silent desert in its ghostly effulgence ; 
the Arabs crouched round their smouldering fires, their 
patient camels kneeling by their sides ; our tent gleaming 
white in the night air, looked so invitingly cozy and warm 
as you saw through the open canvas door ; the whispering 
palm groves, faintly stirred by the gentle breeze ; the calm 
pnrple sea, just seen in the dim distance ; and the ineffably 
sacred associations which were bound up with the spot — all 
combined to lead one into a train of reverent contemplation. 
To one who, like myself, had lived much in the whirl of a 
great city, surrounded with flaring gas-lights, screeching 
railways, and the roar of ceaseless traffic, this deathlike 
stillness seemed doubly profound and delightful. 

Next morning we rose soon after six o'clock, and in half 
an hour were seated at a capital breakfast, garnished with 
tea, coffee, hot toast and butter, Dundee marmalade, and 
other luxuries. Our first night in the tent had proved a very 
comfortable one, and the novelty of occupying the same 
sleeping apartment with two other men very soon wears off. 
We had each a handy u*on bedstead which packed up into 
wonderftilly small compass, and a sort of double quilt did 
duty for both blankets and sheets. Then three tin ewers 
and basins stood all ready at the tent door for our morning 
ablutions, though we were undoubtedly obliged to dispense 
with the Englishman's special luxury of a * tub.' 

While my companions walked on ahead, I enjoyed a quiet 
pipe of mild Turkish tobacco, and watched the rapid manner 

o 2 

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in which the Arabs struck the tents, stowed away our baggage, 
bedsteads, canteen, cooking apparatus, chairs and tables. It 
was by no means warm, as the desert air is biting enough 
until the sun has arisen in his strength ; but a rapid walk 
beside the camels soon put heat into me. By ten o'clock it 
grew very warm, and I found great relief from my blue glasses, 
which mitigated the effect of the glare. 

The scenery through which we passed was one unvarying 
hard sandy plain, with small stones scattered about, and occa- 
sionally tufts of a small prickly shrub of the cactus order, and 
a few blades of coarse grass. Our path lay about half a mile 
from the shore, and oar left hand was bounded by a low range 
of moimtains. About mid-day we stopped for lunch at a 
solitary acacia tree, that threw the faintest possible shade 
over the sand ; and spreading our carpets over the ground, 
with a roll of rugs and coats for a pillow, we lay at ease and 
discussed the good things which our ever carefrd Achmet 
had provided for our use. Meanwhile our baggage animals 
slowly stalked on, thus enabling them to get the requisite 
distance ahead, so as to unload and have the tents all in 
order by our arrival at dinner-time. The Arabs will only go 
a certain distance each day, generally about eight hours, and 
every stopping-place is well known. Consequently the tra- 
veller need not worry himself with unnecessarily early starts^ 
for this will only cause him to arrive at the tents sooner at 

Wady Siidr was our resting-place this evening— a bare flat 
part of the desert, with no special feature by which to describe 

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it. Again our white tent gave a temporary aspect of home 
comforts to the barren desert, and the lantern hanging from 
the entrance shed a kindly gleam of light into the chill air, 
Once more I wandered along the trackless desert with the 
cold glittering stars overhead and the dusky mysterious moun- 
tain ranges a little way off, and fhUy realised that I was far 
from home, and about to seek still more distant scenes of 
stem desolation and solitude* At such a moment the friends 
and familiar faces of * auld lang syne ' come vividly up to re- 
membrance, former scenes of revelry and rejoicing contrast 
strangely with the intense repose of the present moment, 
and the future seems tinged with an indefinable forecast of 

A cold windy morning succeeded, and we were wakened 
before dawn by our trusiy dragoman, who warned us that we 
had a long day's journey before us. Most unwillingly did I 
leave the pleasant warmth of my iron couch, and immersed 
my face in the excessively cold water. By half-past siz^ 
however, we were ready to start; but there was a regular 
fight between two of the Arabs as to the overloading of a 
camel, accompanied by furious cries and gesticulations, all 
about nothing. We had our first shower of rain to-day, 
since leaving Alexandria ; quite a novelty it was, but it proved 
of brief duration, and we got hardly another drop of moisture 
xmtil we reached Jerusalem. After luncheon we moved on 
through more undulating ground, diversified with high ridges 
of sand and masses of rock, and we were continually ascend*- 
ing and leaving the sea. As we approached the well of Ain 

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Hawarah, the supposed fotmtain of Marah, where Moses 
sweetened the bitter waters, the scenery grew much more 
interesting; rocky hills and deep wadys giving variety to 
the landscape. We pitched our tents near the fountain with 
its single round palm-tree, shaped like a huge circular bush^ 
no stem being visible. This night the moon shone with great 
splendour, making the sandy desert all around look like un- 
trodden snow ; the hills, rocks, and tents standing out clearly 
defined in the brilliant light, and the night wind sweeping 
up the wadys with long-drawn wailing sound. 

Day succeeds day in these calm solitudes with few events 
to chequer their even monotony, and the traveller thinks 
nothing about the grave events which may, hour by hour, be 
enacting in unquiet Europe. He cares not for newspapers, 
politics, or the daily share list. Indifferent to him are the 
fluctuations of consols, railways, or foreign stocks— he heeds 
them not ; the idea of such everyday realities is distasteful 
to him. For the time being he rolls away the accumulated 
load of cares and worries of a domestic or business nature, 
rejoicing in his desert freedom and immunity from letters 
and telegrams. He looks around and sees the face of nature 
unchanged; even as it was 6,000 years ago, so is it now. No 
sound of railway-engine will ever wake the slumbering echoes 
of this secluded valley, no telegraph-posts will ever find hold- 
ing-ground in these shifting sands ; a solitude it will remain 
till time is no more. Better that it should be so ; the world 
is going too fast in these days of electric excitement, and has 
few spots remote from the haunts of men. 

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And now we reach Wady Qhunindel, the Elim of the Bible, 
where the Israelites encamped, and where are several pools 
of water and a number of palm and tamarisk-trees* The 
rocks now assume bold forms, and the path still ascends 
considerably. To the right of this is a hill called ^ Pharaoh's 
Bath,' with a hot spring near its base, and afar off we got 
our first view of the grand form of Mount Serbfil, Our path 
lay by Wady Useit, and all around us were precipitous ridges 
of rock. The day was hot, though a cool wind was blowing ; 
and here, for the first time, we encountered some fellow 
travellers in the shape of a number of Russian pilgrims, 
proceeding from Mount Sinai to Suez ; men and women, all 
walking on foot ; rough, bearded, long-haired specimens of 
the Eussian peasant. They took little notice of us ; indeed, 
such was the rule with any pilgrims or travellers whom we 
encountered in our wanderings. 

We traversed steadily along the broad dried-up water- 
courses, from whose steep banks the cliffs rose up perpendicu- 
larly to a great height, until we were feirly hemmed in 
between the precipitous sides of a long winding valley. In 
many places the strata of the rocks were very distinctly 
marked, and caves appeared in the clefts at intervals. It 
was nearly dark when we arrived at our tents in Wady 
Taiyibeh, beside some palm-trees and a pool of water, while 
around us uprose precipitous rocks; one especially grand 
mountain-side directly facing us, with well-defined strata of 
red and black running across its rugged surface. A more 
secluded spot could not well be imagined, the absolute life- 

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lessnesB being profonndlj striking. The following day we 
were marching along the same dry bed of a torrent, but the 
clififs now assumed a yellow tinge, while a stray palm-tree or 
two lent occasional verdure to the scene. At last the beau* 
tiful dark purple sea again came into view, its waves breaking 
crisply on the shell-strewn shore; and after the dreary ex- 
panse of shingly sand we had been wearily traversing, the 
briny freshness of the deep was doubly invigorating. A 
noble view also was gained of Mount Serbfil on one side, and 
the great mountain ranges of Africa on the opposite coast. 

Taking advantage of a sheltered cove, which gave some 
slight shade from the sun's oppressive heat, we indulged in the 
luxury of a bathe, which was all the more acceptable from our 
recently enforced abstinence from such ablutions. At this part 
of the shore the cliffs advance so close to the sea, that the 
camels have to wade right through the tide, and some demur 
was made to this proceeding by one or two of them. After 
this we emerged upon the extensive plain of Murkhdh, which 
is bounded by the dark blue sea on one side, and on the other 
by lofty granite mountains, rich with an infinite variety of 
colouring. Immense quantities of smoothly rounded boulders 
of many varieties of rocks cover the plain, and a small prickly 
shrub, of which the camels seem fond, grows in abundance. 
We found it very weary work crossing this plain, and the 
mountains positively seemed to recede as we advanced to- 
wards them. At last, after two hours march, we discovered 
an opening, formed by a dried-up torrent, which presently 
led to the strange Wady ShellfiJ, an extraordinary valley, 

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oompletelj shut in by range after range of mountains^ cha*- 
racterised by manrelloua colouring and ragged forms. Some 
of them are white limestone, with sharp peaks and numerous 
seams streaking their sides; others are dark and covered 
with dSbrisj like great masses of earth thrown up from a 
quarry, while right in our front rose up an apparently im<p 
passable barrier of a mountain, whose base was one mass of 
green rock ; farther up the colour was dark grey, and then 
aU beyond was of red granite tint« The evening sun striking 
upon the shattered pinnacles of rocks, and throwing into 
deep shade the dark recesses and clefts of the mountain, 
heightened the effect, and invested the whole scene with an 
unreal and mysterious character. 

From this we passed up a desolate ravine with a few scat- 
tered trees in it, and began to ascend continuously till we 
reached our camping-ground at the entrance of Wady 
Bdderah. Our tents were pitched in a sort of vast sloping 
natural amphitheatre, surrounded by great mountains of 
every variety of outline and colour. Next day was Sunday, 
so we did not travel on that day — a resolution to which we 
adhered throughout our tour, and which our Arab escort 
duly appreciated. One of us read the Morning Service of the 
X^hurch of England, and its noble prayers came home to our 
hearts with double force, surrounded as we were by the 
jsublime scenery and associations of the land through which 
the Almighty led His chosen people, and amidst whose tre- 
mendous defiles they were guided by that wondrous column 
of fire. Being rather fatigued, we passed most of the day^ 

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which was very hot, in the tent, and only strolled ont in the 
afternoon for a walk befoi-e dinner. Turning our steps to- 
wards the vast green mountaiu at the foot of the sloping 
plain where our tents were placed, we were beguiled onwards 
by the remarkable character of the rocks until we reached 
a truly wonderful gorge, which seems to have escaped the 
observation of most travellers. We had been following the 
dry water-coturse, hemmed in on either side by great masses 
of jagged rock, tiU it suddenly took a leap over a shelving 
cliff, all furrowed and hollowed out into grooves by the winter 
torrent. Clambering down this, we found ourselves in a 
narrow chasm, with the most wonderful detached masses of 
rock and gigantic boulders strewn about, all of which had 
fallen from the terrific precipices overhanging the bed of the 
stream. They were of every variety of size and colour, some 
granite, some sandstone, some porphyry, others basalt; and 
the whole appearance of the place was as if some tremendous 
convulsion of the earth had violently rent the solid cliffs 
asunder. Some of the immense detached blocks were of 
vast bulk; and the dreadful stillness brooding over the 
narrow gorge, and the savage grandeur of the overhanging 
crags — ^the advancing twilight increasing the weird aspect of 
the scene — all combined to overawe the beholder. We ob- 
served, on one or two of the larger masses of rocks, some 
inscriptions rudely carved, resembling the Sinaitic writings 
which we afterwards met with in Wady Mokatteb. 

Following this wild valley for more than half a mile, we 
found that it grew wider and emerged probably upon the 

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Wady Shelldl, so we reluctantly retraced our steps as the 
&mt yellow rays of the sun just faintly tipped with gold 
the savage mountain-tops. We were greatly struck with 
the sublime character of this gorge, and would &in have 
further explored it, but time did not permit, as on the 
morrow we again set our faces towards Mount Sinai. The 
mountains of this remarkable part of the peninsula have^ 
somehow, not the solid look that one would expect ; many of 
them seem as if they were vast heaps of earth thrown up by 
the cydopean excavators of some gigantic quarry. But as 
we passed up the steep Nukb Baderah, and traversed the 
great wady of the same name, we entered upon the region 
of red granite. One noble mountain is seen closing in the 
wady for a long way off, by name Jebel Gineh. Here we met 
two adventurous Frenchmen, dressed with all the attention 
to effect that characterises their nation, and armed with long 
guns, pistols, and other implements, who we understood had 
been occupied all winter in searching for turquoises in this 
dreary neighbourhood. They were attended by various 
Arabs and their camels, on one of which was slung a heavy- 
looking box bound with iron, which, doubtless, contained the 
precious stones they were conveying to Cairo. To add to 
the singular effect of this peculiar cavalcade, they carried 
the French flag, and we made our politest bow in passing so 
distinguished a party. 

Now we reached the Wady Mokatteb, the strange * Written 
Valley,* where are seen those mysterious inscriptions which 
have puzzled so many wise heads to decipher. It is very 

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broad in most places, and is covered with great boulders as 
well as seamed by numerous water-courses. Banges of red 
granite mountains bound it on both sides, rising to a con- 
siderable height. The heat was great in this extensive 
valley, which has a gentle descent for almost the whole way 
till it joins the Wady Teiran. The inscriptions are traced 
with some sharp instrument on the faces of detached blocks 
of sandstone which have fallen from the cliffs above, and 
are generally in two lines of curious characters, with some 
crosses and rudely-drawn figures of animals like camels and 
dogs. They are occasionally on the face of the cliffs them- 
selves, and rather high up. Burckhardt, Niebuhr, Lepsius, 
Professor Beer and others, have given various opinions as to 
their origin, and Dean Stanley considers that they were 
done by Christian pilgrims. 

We now entered upon the famous Wady Feiran, the 
> paradise of the Bedawin,' which is broad and flat, covered 
with quantities of scattered stones with tufts of grass and 
shrubs between. Our route now lay amidst truly grand 
scenery ; on both sides immense lofty jagged granite moun- 
tains rose up from the broad water-course along which wo 
toiled. Here again I was more than ever struck by the 
intense silence brooding around, the absolute lifelessness of 
rocks and valley ; not an insect dancing in the hot air, no 
bird skimming along the mountain side, no floweret scenting 
the gale with its modest fragrance, no bleating of sheep or 
cry of wild animal to wake the echoes slumbering in eternal 
repose. One winding valley succeeds another — dead, still;, 

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and deserted, vast amplutlieatres of sun-bleached rocks, 
apparently without any outlet — until suddenly a narrow cleft 
appears which leads to a similar valley of death and desola- 
tion. Each separate valley might almost be conceived to 
have once been a lake, so regularly rounded are their con- 
figurations, so steep their rocky sides, with the red ramparts 
frowning down upon the level space below. The finest of all 
was the one that our tents were pitched in, whose precipi- 
tous sides towered up for well-nigh 2,000 feet ; and in the 
distance the huge form of majestic Mount SerbM, with its 
five sharp peaks, rose up in solitary grandeur. The last 
rays of the rapidly sinking sun crimsoned its serrated brow 
with a strangely beautiful effect ; and later on, when the 
moonbeams fell upon the precipices surrounding our tent, 
while as yet the pale orb itself was invisible, the unearthly 
and mysterious loveliness of the scene was difficult to de« 

Quitting our camping-ground on the following mdmiiig at 
half-past seven, we marched on for about three hours through 
the beautiful Wady Feiran, passing a ruined Arab village in 
the midst of green feathery palm-trees, which looked deli- 
ciously inviting and verdant after the scorchiQg scenery 
through which our path had lain for so many days. A mile 
farther on we came to the ruined village of Feiran, the site 
of an early ecclesiastical city, where once lived a Christian 
bishop surrounded by a goodly population of devoted ad- 
herents, attracted to these remote regions by the sacred 
associations of the peninsula. Here the thirsty traveller 

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is delighted to observe a lovely clear crystal streamlet 
meandering along the palm and tamarisk-girt valley, and 
the entire look of the spot is refreshing and picturesque. 
We now rested for awhile and prepared for our great effort 
— ^the ascent of Mount SerbdL This is the usual place from 
which the attempt is made ; and, as it involves say nine or 
ten hours hard work, it is well to make due preparation. 

We were very soon visited by some of the Arabs from the 
village with eggs and dates for sale, and our dragoman 
selected two guides to conduct us to the summit of the 
mountain. It was a fearfully hot day, as usual not a cloud 
in the sky, and we ought properly to have set off hours 
before. However, we started about ten o'clock with our 
guides, taking our route up the Wady Aleiy&t, a steep valley 
filled with great boulders detached by the storms of cen- 
turies from the mountain. We were several times obliged 
to stop and rest on account of the increasing oppressiveness 
of the air, so that it took us more than two hours to reach 
the foot of the immense central perpendicular mass of the 
mountain. This presents a seemingly impassable barrier to 
further progress, for the gigantic red granite cliflEs tower up 
BO precipitously as to defy the presumptuous attempt to scale 
their dizzy heights. The individual peaks of the mountain 
are separated by deep ravines full of vast blocks of granite ; 
and up the central one, called Abu Hamd, we slowly toiled 
for more than three hours. We had to use our hands quite 
as much as our feet in dragging ourselves up the enormous 
masses of fallen rock, and there Was no shelter to be got 

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from the scorching sunslune which beat fiercely upon our 
heads. Upon looking np, we still saw the awful copper- 
colonred smooth walls of granite seemingly reaching np to 
the opal sky, and closing in the yiew on both sides. Then 
occasionally we wonld dislodge a stone from its place, and it 
would thunder down the dizzy heights up which we had 
been struggling till it found a resting-place in the ravine far 
below. To add to the utter sterility of the spot, no blade of 
verdure was visible, only in one or two places we saw a wild 
fig-tree with difficulty retaining a foothold amid the barren 

At last, however, we did reach the top of the ravine, in a 
very exhausted condition, and to our delight found a very 
little rain-water in the hollow of a rock, from which we drank 
eagerly. But here again we were confronted by a tremen- 
dous mass of perpendicular smooth rock, forming the shoulder 
and summit of the mountain. There is no track over the 
slippery round masses of granite, and it is exceedingly diffi- 
cult to keep your feet ; while a false step would precipitate 
the traveller down the awM depths into some unknown abyss. 
By this time we were nearly exhausted, andstiU the snmmit 
was nnattained. At last we gained the narrow ledge which 
surrounds the huge circular mass of rock forming the ex- 
treme peak of the mountain, and succeeded in clambering on 
to the highest pinnacle of all, at an elevation of 6,734 feet 
above the surface of the sea. On a narrow shelf of rock near 
the actual summit may be seen the remains of an ancient 
lighthouse, which gives its name to the loftiest peak of Serb&l^ 

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one of a series of beacon-fires whose lurid flames flashed from 
this dizzy altitude on the adjoining coast. 

What a glorious view now burst upon our astonished gaze ! 
We looked over the whole peninsula of Sinai, with its sublime 
associations and awe-inspiring natural features. From Suez 
at one end of the Eed Sea, to the far-off mountains near the 
Gulf of Akabah, the mighty map lay unrolled at our feet. 
We surveyed the entire route of the vast host of Israel along 
the yellow sandy plain, and narrow devious valley, until they 
rested in the broad open space before the mountain, where 
God Himself was to be revealed amidst thunderings, smoke, 
and fire. The mysterious column of fire lighted up with its 
unearthly lustre these sombre defiles, where the overhang* 
ing cliffs threatened to topple down upon that great throng, 
whose tread shook the solid earth at their base. Then the 
great, smooth, sandy plain of KdoL was seen extending from 
the foot of Mount Serbdl all along the sea shore, far away to 
the dusky village of Tor. 

The entire length of the Gulf of Suez was before us : a 
calm, waveless sheet of purple sea, resting motionless in the 
sultry atmosphere^ its surface undisturbed by the keel of a 
single vessel. As it was nearing four o'clock, the sun waar 
fiist declining to the African range of blue mountains, and 
cast a lovely rich yellow glow from shore to shore, across the 
molten sea of silver thus bridged over with a broad golden 
arch. Casting one's glance inland> the peninsula was bathed 
in an exquisite rosy hue, the valleys and mountains softly 
veiled in blue mist, forming li magic harmony of coloiiring 

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which can only be seen when the sun is sinking towards the 
horizon. Northwards the face of the country slopes away 
into the wilderness of Tih, a confused mass of low hills and 
shallow wadys of an uniform yellowish colour ; while turn- 
ing to the chief scene of all, the grand form of the sacred 
mountain itself, a noble range of magnificent peaks, gilded 
with glory by the setting sun, bounded the eastern horizon. 

We seemed lifted up far above the face of that lone, de- 
serted land. Mountains, themselves of huge bulk, lay scat- 
tered like great boulders of stone on the surface of the penin- 
sula. Winding valleys, along whose scorching sands we had 
for days been painfully toiling, looked like white streaks 
amidst the sea of rocks. The world of civilisation seemed 
removed for ever from our ken ; we gazed around on nothing 
but barrenness and desolation. In our immediate vicinity 
the objects that met our eyes were suflBciently grand. The 
rugged peaks of the great mountain on whose iron brow the 
storms and burning suns of ages had beaten in vain, rose up 
in all directions around us. An awftd silence pervaded these 
tremendous rocks ; the human mind felt utterly humbled and 
subdued in the presence of such sublime features of nature. 
The brain grew dizzy as one tried to peer down the fearftil 
abyss environing the summits. Words were vain to express 
the feelings of the moment ; the very presence of man seemed 
an anomaly in this majestic solitude. 

Still richer grew the marvellous pink tints overspreading the 
far-off granite rocks and misty valleys as the sun now rapidly 
neared the horizon. The delicate haze grew more ethereal, 


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aad the quivering atmospliere seemed to induce in us an 
increasing langour and indisposition to move away from 
our exalted station. The thought, too, that in a few fleeting 
moments this matchless panorama would be lost to our gaze, 
was very saddening, for we knew well that we should never 
look on it again, A feeling of melancholy seemed to hang 
over our small party ; the very Arab guides lay motionless 
under the rock. But it was indeed time that we should 
descend, for we had a very long and weary way to go ere we 
could possibly reach our tents, so we were reluctantly forced 
to commence our return. There is a small heap of stones on 
the highest point of the rock, and among them I discovered 
a botUe, which, though open at the top, contained a number 
of small slips of paper, apparently not at all injured by the 
weather, on which were vmtten the names of travellers who 
had reached the top. In some years there seemed to have 
been no visitors to this sublime mountain, and judging from 
the small number of recorded ascents, comparatively few of 
those who visited Mount Sinai have climbed its majestic 
rivaL We carefully inserted our illustrious names amongst 
the others, and replaced the bottle in its position. There 
was also another small bottle, which had been left by a party 
from one of Her Majesty's ships of war, who seemed to have 
visited the summit on January 21^ 1872, and left certain 
observations as to temperature and weather for the benefit 
of their successors. 

The descent v^ras much more rapidly effected than the as- 
cent J still, by the time we got to the bottom of the terrific 

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ravine, it was getting dark. From this point we knew we , 
had at least two good hours' walk, and I, for one, was com- 
pletely knocked np ; my soles were almost worn off my boots 
with clambering over the hard granite rocks, and I would 
fain have rested every ten minutes. To increase our diffi- 
culties, the two Arabs deliberately went ojit of their way, 
and certainly took us considerably out of the track which 
we traversed in the morning. Of course we could not hold 
any conversation with them, and we had nothing for it but 
to follow blindly where they chose to lead. At last I fairly 
lost my temper, and indulged my feelings in exclamations of 
anger and^ impotent abuse which, as may be supposed, the 
Arabs received with equanimity. We stumbled over prostrate 
rocks, and, as it was now quite dark, every footstep was 
taken in doubt of where we might be landed, for we were on 
the verge of a pretty steep valley. At last, our hearts were 
cheered by seeing lights in the distance. Our j&ithful drago- 
man, having become alarmed, had sent out men with lanterns 
in quest of us. When we reached the tent it was about 
eight o'clock ; and throwing ourselves on our iton beds, we 
soon forgot our fatigues in a short period of repose i>receding 
our well-earned repast. 

Next morning we felt very tired, and did not start till 
half- past eight. Enjoyed the luxury of a delightful bath in 
the clear crystal stream that runs through the valley, vnth its 
groups of palm and tamarisk trees, and circling granite hills 
on all sides. The valley vnnds along for more than a mile 
full of palms, and also a great many manna trees. Hera the 

H 2 

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Bedawin come when the dates are ripe to gather the fruity 
for each man has his special garden of some thirty or forty 
trees surrounded with fences of dried pahn branches. We 
were sorry to leave this beautiful valley with' its refreshing 
verdure^ so grateful to the eye after the burnt rocks and sand 
of the desert. As we left the Wady Peiran and entered the 
Wady esh-Sheikh we got a fine view of Mount SerbSJ, and 
v50uld hardly believe that we had only yesterday stood upon 
its dizzy summit. The outline of the mountain, as it grew 
more misty and enveloped in shade, reminded me greatly of 
the form of the Cuchullin hills in Skye, above Loch Scavaig. 
At five o'clock we rested for the night in a large open plain, 
with a range of lofty mountains to the west, which caught 
the red rays of the setting sun till they shone like burnished 

On the following day we were off at half-past seven, the 
dromedaries only accompanying us, as the camels with the 
heavy baggage had to make the detour of the Wady Sheikh, 
while we took the shorter but very precipitous Nukb Hawy, 
or * Pass of the Winds.' This we reached about eleven 
o'clock, after descending from an elevated ridge of rock which 
we had to cross. From this point the view of the whole 
range of lofty granite mountains surrounding Sinai is grand 
in the extreme, their perpendicular copper-coloured peaks 
seeming almost to reach the sky. The * Pass of the Winds ' 
is very steep, presenting terrible difficulties to the animals who 
toiled painftdly up the great masses of broken rock which 
cover the path. The scenery here reminded me of Glencoe 

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in its wildest parts, only that instead of the covering of grass 
and heather, which thinlj clothes the rocks in the Scottish 
glen, there was nothing save the bare granite clififs. 

Our expectations were now raised to the utmost pitch, for 
as soon as we reached the top of the pass we knew that 
Mount Sinai would be visible. At last we gazed upon its 
awful form, rising majestically up from the great plain of 
Efthah, which extends in a gentle slope for more than two 
miles from the pass to the mountain. It is difficult to de- 
scribe the varied emotions which agitate one at such a 
moment, the sublime associations of the spot are of so over- 
jowering a nature. The mountain rises up in sheer pre- 
cipices from the plain, and seems to stand isolated from the 
surrounding heights. This is the most imposing point of 
view it presents ; for, as you come nearer to it, the base does 
certainly slope upwards, not in the sheer abruptness which 
one would at first imagine. At a distance of perhaps three 
or four hundred feet from the base the rocks rise up in pre- 
cipitous smooth red masses, ultimately breaking into several 
peaks at the topTI The plain of RSJiah is triangular in shape, 
and of ample size to contain even the vast host of the 
Israelites, who probably entered it from the Wady Sheikh 
which emerges on to the plain. For some time, as we rode 
across the bare hot plain, we had the convent of Mount 
Sinai in view. It stands in a valley opening out to the plain 
with the mountain on one side, and on the other a lofty range 
of rocky precipices. It is an extensive quadrangular pile of 
buildings, surrounded by high walls of granite defended by 

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a few small towers. But what specially struck us was the 
exquisite beauty of the almond, peach, and apple-trees, in 
full blossom, which^ in this awfully barren region of adaman- 
tine rock, looked so unreal and out of place. The prospect, 
too, of some days repose after our sojourn in the desert, 
was by no means displeasing, especially as our bread was all 
finished, and we could not get any more except at the convent. 
As we approached its walls, the monks, who had doubtless 
seen our party for some time, let down a small basket attached 
to a rope, in which we deposited our letter of introduction. 
This was quickly hoisted up for inspection, and the result was 
satisfactory, for in a few minutes a large gate leading into 
the garden was thrown open, and this again conducted to a 
small postern-door in the convent walls, by mea us of which 
we gained admission to the main building. 

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It was on February 29 that we were received within the 
hospitable walls of this ancient convent, which from the time 
of its founding, A.D. 527, by the Emperor Justinian, has 
continued till the present day to afford an asylum for those 
pilgrims who have come to visit the sublime valleys of 
Mount Sinai. The monk who admitted us spoke Italian, and 
presently conducted us to the Superior — a stout, contented- 
looking ecclesiastic, apparently about sixty years old — who 
appreciated a glass of our marsala, accompanied by a 
cheroot. Refreshments were presently set before us, consist- 
ing of capital brown bread, which we greatly enjoyed, dates, 
and a sort of liqueur, made from date-stones, which was by no 
means agreeable to our palate. Our rugs, baggage, canteen 
and other articles, were brought up by the Arabs, and our 
dragoman bustled about and gave his orders as if he perfectly 
knew the ways of the place. Some travellers prefer to re- 
main in their tents outside the convent walls ; surely a great 
mistake, when a whole range of bedrooms is at their disposal, 
besides the luxuries of tables, chairs, clean beds, and glass 

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windows. The tents will be found exceedingly cold in these 
high latitudes, and the sensation of space to move about in 
is a relief, after the very circumscribed limits of a canvas 
home* We were also allowed to do just as we liked, to roam 
at will over any part of the convent, no one asking any ques- 
tions, or taking much notice of us ; and, in the heat of the 
day, it was pleasant to be able to stretch ourselves on the 
stuffed divans of our bedrooms, and enjoy an undisturbed 

The interior of the convent is of the most irregular form, 
and the architecture of the rudest description. Long corri- 
dors, paved courts and passages, the walls pierced with 
numerous small square windows, extend, in defiance of any 
set plan, throughout the interior space. Wooden staircases 
and galleries conduct to a series of bedrooms, dining halls, 
and kitchens, for the special use of strangers. EVom these 
rooms you can gain access to the flat paved summit of the 
battlements, from which a fine view is obtained over the plain 
of Rfihah and the noble mountain ranges bounding it on all 
sides. It is a considerable height from this down to the 
valley below, where are generaUy congregated some Bedawin 
women and children waiting for the supplies of food which 
are daily furnished to them by the charitable monks. There 
are about a dozen small courtyards within the walls, some of 
them cultivated as gardens, and a few cypresses and vines 
grow here. Eanges of cells occupy the east and north sides, 
the upper ones solely being tenanted by the monks, while the 
lower ones are converted into store-houses, which are vaulted 

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and buUt of granite in a very solid fashion. The bakehouse 
and distillery for manufacturing their date-brandy are kept 
up in good order. Three different sorts of bread are made, 
the inferior quality being for the Arabs. The other work- 
shops are occupied by the different brethren, who act as 
cooks, tailors, shoemakers, carpenters, smiths, masons, and 
other artificers. 

There are twenty-seven different chapels within the waUs 
for the various Christian denominations, which are now never 
used, though incense is kept burning in them. Then there is 
also a mosque with a minaret, said to have been erected pre- 
vious to the fourteenth century, which is kept in indifferent 
order by the Arabs under protection of the convent, but tra- 
vellers are not encouraged to visit it. The principal building 
in the convent is the church, dedicated to the Transfiguration, 
though its outward aspect is anything but imposing. The 
interior likewise is disappointing, for the fine granite columns 
of Byzantine architecture, which separate the nave and aisles, 
have been covered with whitewash, the pictures on the walls 
are wretchedly bad, and the tesselated marble floor is dirty 
and unswept. Innumerable lamps of all sizes, among them 
some rather elegant silver ones, hang from the roof, and old 
carved stalls for the brethren are ranged along the walls. 
Service was going on the first time I visited the chapel, but 
very few of the brethren attended on the occasion, and the 
officiating monk mumbled over the prayers in a rapid mono- 
tone, certainly as far removed from a devotional exercise as 
anything pretending to be a religious ceremony which it was 

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ever my lot to witness* The altar-screen is profusely hnng 
with hard, angular-looking daubs of pictures, and an im- 
mense crucifix rises above the altar till it nearly touches the 
roof. The chancel is the part of the church which is chiefly 
interesting, for on the ceiling are some very ancient mosaics. 
The lamps and candles have blackened the designs and rich 
gilding, but the figures highest up are two representations 
of Moses, on his knees before the burning bush, and also 
standing to receive the tables of the law. Below this are 
two medallions of Justinian and his consort Theodora, and 
then comes the representation of the Transfiguration. 
Christ is in the centre, having Moses and Elias on either 
side, while the three apostles, dazzled by the celestial light, 
are seen on the ground below. A Greek inscription runs 
along the foot of the picture, narrating that the work was 
executed by the most holy priest and prior Longinus, for the 
salvation of those who contributed to it by their donations. 
Behind the altar are preserved the relics of St. Catherine 
of Alexandria, whose body was miraculously, so the credu- 
lous are given to understand, conveyed by angels, a.d. 307, to 
the summit of the mountain that now bears her name. The 
skeleton of her hand, covered with rings and jewels, is all 
that the visitor can now see, and the monks make great 
parade of prayers, incense burning, . and other ceremonies 
while removing the withered relic of the saint from the 
coffin. Here also are seen two splendid silver sarcophagi, one 
sent by the Empress Catherine of Eussia, richly gilt and 
sculptured, and the lid decorated with a fall-length recum- 

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bent figure of the Imperial donor herself. This seems to 
have been intended to receive the angust remains of the 
empress ; but they never came, so the sarcophagus stands 
empty. The other is quite new, having been sent not long 
ago by the present Emperor of Russia, and is of solid silver, 
richly chased and adorned. An exquisite representation of 
a female head and shoulders is painted on the lid, the 
expression of the face most mournfiil and delicate, the eyes 
closed in the sleep of death, and the hands crossed on the 
breast. But what surprised us most were the very costly 
gems which studded the gilt scroll-work round the picture, 
and which the monk, who showed us this splendid offering 
of the emperor's, assured us were real stones. Diamonds, 
emeralds, sapphires, rubies, and other precious stones, were 
profusely studded on the gilded bordering, one of the emeralds 
adorning the breast being nearly an inch and a half square, 
and must be of immense value. Now, considering the very 
great temptations to abstract the real stones and substitute 
fictitious gems, and the facility with which this little ex- 
change could be effected by some of the wild hangers-on 
of the convent, it seems a somewhat dangerous prize to 
place within their gra^p. 

Near this is the chapel of the Burning Bush, richly deco- 
rated and hung with silver lamps, the pavement covered 
with carpets. You are obliged to take off your shoes on 
entering this spot, which the monks deem very sacred 
ground. We then proceeded to the library, a small room 
with rude wooden shelves ranged round it, containing nearly 

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1,500 volumes of no great yaiue, though there are some 
Arabic and Greek manuscripts of interest, consisting, accord- 
ing to Burckhardt, of books of prayer, copies of the Gospels, 
lives of saints, liturgies, &c. Here the Russian savant 
Tischendorf discovered and carried off to St. Petersburg the 
famous Codex Svnmticus, the oldest known copy of the New 
Testament. The monks are fain to put up with a splendidly 
got-up facsimile of the precious manuscript, which we saw, 
but they evidently do not pay much heed to the literary 
treasures in their custody. 

Those who are curious in such matters will like to visit 
the chamel-house> which contains the remains of the brethren 
who die in these remote solitudes. It is situated in the 
midst of their beautiful garden, surrounded with sweet- 
scented aloes and almond trees, and the more appropriate 
sombre cypress. Here are ranged, after the manner of the 
similar chamber below the Capuchin Church at Rome, the 
bones of the dead monks, as Bartlett says, ^ in ghastly 
symmetry, from the remains of him who died yesterday and 
still lived in the memory of his fellow-monks, to him whose 
forgotten remains, with their history, are written only in the 
book of Omniscience.' Here might Hamlet well moralise — 
* Now get you to my lady's chamber and tell her, let her 
paint an inch thick ; to this favour she must come.' 

The garden is on the north side of the convent, and is 
pretty extensive already ; still the monks were busy, while we 
were there, in taking in an additional portion of ground. It 
is formed in terraces, laboriously built up with stone walls 

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to keep the soil in its place, and is entirely surrounded bj 
high walls. This is not always, however, a sufficient protec- 
tion from the plundering Arabs, who sometimes carry off the 
fruit, though they generally leave the vegetables* A still 
worse enemy than the Bedawin are the flights of locusts, 
which sometimes consume the entire produce of the year. 
There are some venerable old olive, almond and cypress 
trees, besides orange, lemon, mulberry, apricot, apple, pear 
and peach trees, while quantities of onions, lettuces, cab- 
bages, cucumbers, beans and other useful vegetables, testify 
to the care bestowed on their cultivation by the monks 
whose special duty this is. A curious sight it was to see 
the silent, grave brethren, with their dark brown robes 
fastened by a cord round the waist, working away with spade 
or trowel. We enjoyed strolling in the garden, it was so 
shady and cool compared with the blazing valley beyond, 
and the delicious fragrance of almond and orange blossoms 
filled the air. Constant irrigation is needed to keep the soil 
in order in this scorching climate, and there are one or two 
wells for this purpose in the garden. 

The monks, upon the whole, seemed to have an easy time 
of it. There are at present under fifty of them, though in 
the fourteenth century the convent contained an archbishop 
and 400 monks. The discipline is, however, pretty severe, as 
they must attend mass twice in the day and twice in the 
night, and no flesh or wine is allowed all the year round. 
Their ordinary food is bread, boiled vegetables and fruit, 
with cheese occasionally. But they indulge habitually in 

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their date-brandy, and this is even permitted to them during 
their fasts, and they are allowed the free nse of tobacco. 
Most of them are Greeks, with a few Italians and Russians, 
and they usually belong to the lower ranks of society. They 
know little of Arabic or any modem languages. As a rule, 
the monks do not remain in the convent above four or five 
years, though a few of them do live there all their lives, and 
their bones repose in the garden they used to tend. They 
are very glad to receive travellers, and it is customary to 
make an adequate recompense, through the dragoman, for 
the supplies provided to the party. A book is kept in the 
Superior's room, in which are recorded the names of travellers 
who have visited the convent. Amongst them I noticed 
those of Buckle, the historian, and his friend Mr. Glennie ; 
also the junior member for Edinburgh, who, with his wife 
and daughters, had remained some days in the convent. 
There did not seem to be above three or four parties every 
year, though it is possible that the names of those who 
remain outside the walls in their tents are not recorded. 

Previous to the third century of the Christian era, the 
rugged fastnesses of Mount Sinai had become the resort of 
the early Christians, where, by degrees, small communities, 
established themselves, and FeirSn was the site of an epis- 
copal see, and of a city, as the ruins remaining to this day 
testify. Before the close of the tenth century Sinai had been 
erected into a bishopric under the Patriarch of Jerusalem. 
There was supposed to be about this period nearly six thousand 
inmates of the various monasteries and cells in the vicinity 

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of SerbM and Sinai, who, from the spread of iBlamism among 
the wandering tribes, were exposed to much danger. Daring 
last century regular caravans of pilgrims, so Burckhardt 
states, used to visit the convent from Cairo and even Jeru- 
salem, as he saw a document preserved by the monks which 
narrated that one day 800 Armehians arrived from the latter 
city, and, another time, 500 Copts from Cairo. Few pilgrims 
now run the risks of a long journey across the Desert to 
visit the sacred mountain, and were it not for the annually 
increasing throng of British and American tourists, who are 
attracted thither by the sublime associations and scenery of 
the Sinaitic peninsxda, the worthy monks would have little 
communication with the outer world. 

Accompanied by a Greek monk and two Arabs we set 
oflF, about 7.30 a.m. on March 2, to visit the summit of 
Mount Sinai. Most travellers who have described the ascent 
seem to have started at the back of the convent, and toiled 
up a steep zigzag pathway till they reached the small chapel 
erected to the Virgin ; but we took quite a different road. 
Following the course of the valley is an excellent track, 
quite practicable for camels, which was constructed by 
Abbas Pasha, and you can ride up to the very base of the 
precipitous cliffs which form the extreme ridge of the 
moxmtain. We were about one hour and a half in gaining 
this point, and then, leaving our camels, we climbed the 
rest of the ascent on foot. A rough staircase has been 
made by laying large stones at intervals upon one another, 
and, after Mount SerbdJ, the ascent seemed child's play. The 

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upper part of the sumiuit is a series of tremendous masses 
and splintered blocks of granite, utterly destitute of any 
herbage; and we came upon a mass of ice, apparently a 
spring that had frozen during the intense cold of the night. 
We gained the summit about 9.45 A.M., and sat down leisurely 
to examine the view, which, though fine, is not to be com- 
pared with that from SerbM. Various estimates of the height 
of the mountain, Jebel M^a as it is called by the Arabs, 
have been given. Murray's 'Handbook ' for 1868, generally a 
very correct authority, gives it as 7,100 feet above the sea 
and 2,000 feet above the convent ; while Wellsted, who made 
the ascent in 1833, writes that it ' has been erroneously 
estimated at 7,200 feet above the convent, but we ascertained 
its altitude from two points within the sea of Akabah, one 
giving 7,530 feet and the other 7,480 feet above the level of 
the sea; 2,500 feet is its greatest elevation above the convent.' 
Burckhardt and Laborde are silent upon the point, but the 
most recent estimate puts it at 7,375 feet above the sea. 

The summit is somewhat flat, of an oblong shape, and is 
large enough to give space for two small buildings, one a 
chapel and the other a mosque. The church is strongly 
built of granite, and seems to have long been in a ruinous 
condition ; but in 1864 it was rebuilt, and is whitewashed 
within and partially plastered without. A very strong door, 
of which our guide carried the key, admits to the interior, 
which is adorned with a few rude decorations. The remains 
of a much older and more solid building can be traced near 
the chapel, and on the granite rocks all around are seen the 

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names of travellers who have visited the spot. How they 
managed to engrave them was a mystery to me, for I tried 
in vain to aflSx mine in the adamantine rock. I did, how- 
ever, after some labour, succeed in breaking off a small portion 
of the extreme peak of the mountain, which I now have the 
satisfaction of showing to my friends. A few paces off there 
are the ruins of a Mahommedan mosque, held in veneration 
by the Bedawin, who visit the summit on certain of their 
feast days, and sacrifice a sheep in honour of Moses. We 
were fortunate, both on this occasion and when we ascended 
Mount Serbfil, in having a perfectly cloudless sky, for many 
travellers have found the summit of Sinai enveloped in mist. 
In the immediate vicinity of the mountain is a vast sea of 
peaks, and the description of Sir F. Henniker is as correct 
as it is graphic : * It would seem as if Arabia Petrsea had 
once been an ocean of lava, and that while its waves were 
literally running mountains high, it was commanded suddenly 
to stand still.' A large portion of the Gulf of Akabah is 
visible, with the far distant island of Tiran rising out of its 
calm blue waters, and the noble range of Arabian mountains, 
ninety miles distant, bounds the horizon. The Gulf of Suez 
is nearly hidden from view by the stupendous bulk of Mount 
St. Catherine, whose sharp conical peak glitters in lone mag- 
nificence in the morning sun rays. Serbal, too, is dimly seen 
far away, rising above the range of serrated mountains which 
cluster round the Wady Feiran, and very striking is the 
aspect of the wilderness of jagged vocks in the immediate 
vicinity of the convent of St. Catherine. Life is nowhere io 

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be seen, either in the shape of man, animals, birds, or trees ; 
the aspect of the landscape is that of a land where God has 
forgotten to be gracious. Neither the torrents of winter 
nor the fervid heat of summer avail to clothe these awful 
crags with refreshing verdure; an eternal desolation now 
marks the sublime region where once the Almighty conversed 
with man. The seasons come and go, and no smiling harvest 
or mantle of emerald verdure marks their progress ; autumn 
brings not its golden fruits, nor in spring is the * voice of 
the turtle heard in the land ! ' 

From the extreme summit of Sinai the great plain of 
R&hah is not seen, for the vast mass of Mount Horeb, now 
called the Sufs&feh, or mountain of the willow, intervenes. 
Nor could the narrow valley at the foot of the mountain on 
the south-east side possibly be the plain where the host of 
Israel were encamped. No one gazing down upon the slopes 
at this side of the mountain can fail to perceive how utterly 
unsuitable they are for the encampment of 1;wo millions of 
souls. The monks may bring forward any amount of doubt- 
ful traditions to support their theory that Jebel Musa is the 
true site of the giving of the law ; they may point out to the 
credulous all the exact spots where Moses stood during that 
awful interview, but their labour is vain. In the same way 
those who would substitute Mount SerbSJ as the scene of the 
law-giving, certainly do so in defiance of the obstacles pre- 
sented by the natm^al features surrounding that mountain. 
With all deference to such eminent names as Lepsius, 
Bartlett, Dr. Stewart, and above all, the illustrious traveller 

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Borckhardt, I cannot conceive, after having ascended both 
mountains, how anyone can put aside the overwhelming 
evidences in favour of Sinai. The case is so concisely and 
ably stated by Dr. Porter in Murray's excellent * Handbook 
for Syria and Palestine,' which doubtless all travellers who 
visit Sinai will provide themselves with, that I must refer 
them to its pages. There is most assuredly no plain any- 
where near the base of Mount SerbAl, the only approach to 
an open space being the Wady Aleiy&t ; and anyone who has 
traversed with difficulty its uneven, stony, and narrow defile, 
surely can never conceive that a mighty host could be en- 
camped there. If for no other reason than to satisfy them- 
selves on this point, I would strongly recommend all travel- 
lers, in spite of its difficulty, to ascend Mount Serbfi-l, for it 
is surprising how very few of those who go to Sinai by the 
Wady FeirAn seem to do this. 

After remaining more than half an hour on the summit, 
we retraced our steps to the curious hollow in the shoulder of 
the mountain, where are seen the ruined chapel of Elias with 
its solitary cypress tree, a very lofty and venerable-looking 
one, and a smaU pool of clear water. The footmarks nmde 
by Mahomet's camel, the cleft in the rock where Moses hid 
himself from the glory of the Almighty, and other holy 
places in whose authenticity the monks and Arabs have per- 
fect belief, wUl be pointed out to those in search of the mar- 
vellous. Passing, by a very rough and difficult track, along 
the narrow defiles of red granite cliffs which extend all the 
way to the Sufsd;feh, we reached a small chapel dedicated to 

t 2 

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the Virgin. We lunched here, and afterwards set out to 
scale the rough steep ascent of Mount Horeb. It is very 
nearly perpendicular, and you have to drag yourself from 
crag to crag by the free use of both hands and feet. 1 was 
rather surprised at one very trying point, where I had slopped 
to rest for a few minutes, to find, stuck in a cleft of the rock, 

the card of Major-General R , Senior United Service Club, 

whom I had known in Eome, apparently just as he had left 
it, not at all discoloured or injured. I carefully replaced 
the gallant officer's card just where I found it, and have no 
doubt it still remains in position. We at last stood at the 
base of the great round mass of granite, some 80 or 40 
feet high, forming the actual summit of this peak of Horeb, 
but felt too tired to undertake its ascent. Besides, there was 
nothing further to be gained, for here we stood on the very 
rocks once hallowed by the awful manifestation of God as 
He talked to His chosen servant. Vain, of course, is it to 
presume to identify the exact spot where Moses stood, because 
from any one of the several sharp peaks at this point the 
great plain of Efihah is distinctly visible, and the glory of 
the Divine Presence would be beheld by all the vast host. 
The ravine up which Moses climbed from the plain below is 
close at hand, and from the spot on which we stood, down 
to the base of the mountain, is a sheer precipice. In reverent 
silence we gazed upon the sublime scene, for he must needs 
have a cold heart and feeble imagination who could remain 
unmoved under the influence of the associations connected 
with the tremendous events here wrought out* 

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From this point there is a noble view of Mount St. Cathe- 
rine, which rises majestically from the extreme end of the 
Wadj-er-Rahah. Its form is peculiarly grand, for the face 
of tho mountain is one polished mass of naked red granite, 
shining like burnished copper in the bright sun-light. 
Standing boldly out from the neighbouring heights, with 
deep valleys on either side, it irresistibly impresses tho 
traveller ; nor is this to be wondered at, when we remember 
that it is more than 8,500 feet in height. We did not 
attempt the hazardous feat of descending to the plain below, 
but retraced our steps to the chapel of the Virgin, and from 
there proceeded to the mouth of Wady Sheikh, by a very 
steep and diflScult path, reaching the convent about 4.30 

The whole day's excursion, treading almost every step 
upon holy ground, was of the deepest and most solemn 
interest. That night I sat up somewhat lato, writing my 
journal and a letter home, and towards midnight I walked 
from the corridor, where my room was situated, on to the 
loggia at the top of the lofty convent walls. The deepefet 
silence reigned around, for all the inmates of the convent 
were buried in repose ; no voice of night-bird or cry of wild 
animal fell upon the ear, all was hushed as the grave. But 
what a strange picture of beauty did the still valley pre- 
sent. The moon had arisen and suffused with its lustrous 
light the entire side of the great mountain, until every 
pinnacle and ridge of rock stood out in acute relief. The 
smooth precipices, which glistened like gold in the dazzling 
sunlight, now shone like silver in the serene rays of the 

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moon. It was all the more strangely beautiful from the 
striking contrast presented by the opposite side of the valley 
being buried in deep shade, while the line of shadow could 
be traced along the base of the mountain till it met the plain 
of B&hah. Over all spread the calm purple sky, on whose 
brow gleamed a countless array of stars, and the great plain 
beyond the mountain was bathed in the soft light. In the 
immediate vicinity was the garden of the convent, with its 
blossoming fruit trees decked in their snowy robes, contrast- 
ing with dark cypresses towering aloft. The hour and the 
extraordinary beauty of the scene invited to reverent medi- 
tation, and one felt overwhelmed by the august traditions 
connected with the spot. How different was it on that day 
when the Presence of Jehovah was seen by the awe-stricken 
congregation of Israel resting on the mountain, while thun- 
ders and lightnings shook the solid earth, ' and the voice of 
the trumpet exceeding loud, so that all the people that were 
in the camp trembled.' Assuredly no grander place could 
well be found than these sublime solitudes for the unfolding 
of those awful phenomena, which the chosen people were 
here called on to witness. 

We spent an entire afternoon rambling about the plain of 
Efihah and wadys at the base of Horeb and Mount St. Cathe- 
rine ; and Mr. Ashton, who handles his pencil very skilfully, 
made some capital sketches from different points. It was 
terribly hot work wandering over that arid plain, but we 
were anxious to investigate as much as possible into the 
various disputed sites. A few Bedawin tents occupied a 

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hollow near the base of Snfs&feh, but their inmates took no 
notice of us. There is a small ruin with garden inclosure, 
and some very lofty cypresses, not far from this, beyond 
which is the shallow bed of a dry watercourse, filled with 
great stones and masses of debris. This wady runs round 
the whole base of Horeb till it merges in the Wady-esh- 
Sheikh, and the plain of Mhah slopes upwards from it. 
Thus the lapse of ages has so far changed the fall of the 
ground here, that the mountain can hardly be said to rise up 
at once like a wall from the plain. The best point for view- 
ing Mount Sinai, or rather Mount Horeb, is from the plain 
on the summit of the gravelly bank which slopes upwards 
from this dried-up watercourse. You see the whole of its 
most perpendicular side, the probable spot where Moses 
received the tables of the law, the wide entrance to Wady 
Sheikh on the extreme left, and the noble mass of Mount 
St. Catherine on the right, reaching the majestic altitude of 
8,551 feet above the sea. You are in the midst of absolute 
solitude and silence ; there is nothing to distract the mind 
from contemplating the scene where such mighty events 

Burckhardt, who visited the convent in the spring of 1816, 
gives a very complete description of it, characterised by all 
his accuracy of detail and fulness of information. From this 
scarce work I have gathered the following details as to the 
intercourse between the monks and their Bedawin allies, 
though it is probable that the relations between them are 
now somewhat changed. At that time no Arab, except the 

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servants of the convent, was admitted within the walls ; and 
as the custom was that all Bedawin, whether men, women or 
children, should receive bread for breakfast and supper, this 
food was lowered down to them from the window. Though 
there were not a great many in the neighbourhood, still 
scarcely a day passed without the brethren requiring to fur- 
nish bread for thirty or forty persons. Last century the 
Arabs enjoyed the privilege of having a dish of cooked 
meat, both at breakfast and supper, but this right they were 
induced to give up. The branch convent at Cairo also was 
subject to similar claims on the part of those Bedawin who 
chanced to be there. The convent has its ghafeirsy or pro- 
tectors, twenty-four in number among the tribes inhabiting 
the desert between Syria and the Eed Sea, but the more 
remote of them are only entitled to a few annual presents in 
clothes and money, while the Tawarah protectors are con- 
stantly hovering near the convent, trying to extort what 
they can. If a sheikh calls at the convent, he receives in 
addition to his bread, some coffee, sugar, soap, a handker- 
chief, or similar articles. If this is refused, the sheikh takes 
vengeance by laying waste some of the gardens belonging to 
the convent, and then has to be conciliated by a present. 
In 1816 the monks solicited the protection of Mohammed 
All, though Burckhardt was inclined to doubt the wisdom of 
this course. Sometimes disputes occurred, and the Arabs 
would ill-use any monk they might catch, or they would fire 
into the convent from the cliffs above, and the holy fathers 
retorted from their armoury, but were very careful not to kill 

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any one. Thongh tlieir neighbours were restive at times, 
still the monks remarked to Burckhardt, * If our convent 
had been subject to the revolutions and oppressions of Egypt 
or Syria, it would long ago have been abandoned ; but Provi- 
dence has preserved us by giving us the Bedawin for neigh- 
bours/ He estimated the expenses of the convent, notwith- 
standing the demands of the Arabs, as but moderate. All 
supplies were drawn from Egypt, but the communication 
with Cairo was not regular. The yearly consumption of 
com was then about 2,500 bushels, and the annual expen- 
diture something like 1,000Z. sterling. The monks com- 
plained greatly to Burckhardt of poverty, and the prior 
declared he was sometimes obliged to borrow from the 
Bedawin, at high interest, but this statement the former 
was inclined to doubt. 

The peninsula of Sinai consists of two main divisions of 
territory: first, the desert of Tih, bounded by the Mediterra- 
nean, Syria, and the mountain ranges of Sinai ; and second, 
the country embraced between the gulfs of Suez and Akabah, 
which is in fact the true peninsula. The desert of Tlh, ' the 
wandering,' from the forty years* wanderings of the Israelites, 
is, generally speaking, an elevated plateau of hard gravelly 
soil, with a few limestone ranges intersecting its surface. The 
mountain ranges of the Sinaitic peninsula I have endeavoured 
already partially to describe. The Arabs who inhabit this 
peninsula are known by the name of Tawarah, or * people of 
Tur,' and are divided into five tribes, as follows — 1. The 
Sawfllihah, the principal tribe, who inhabit the country west 

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of the convent, where their date-yallejs are situated, which 
are the excluaive property of individuals, but the pasturing- 
places are common to the tribe. They are the oldest and most 
distinguished tribe, and have the privilege of conducting 
travellers to the convent, because they are its recognised 
ghafeirsy or * protectors.' 2. The Aleikfi,t, an old tribe and 
few in number, but who intermarry with- the first named, and 
have also the privilege of conducting travellers. They live to 
the east of the convent, towards the Gulf of Akabah ; as also 
do 3, the Muzeiny, who came into the peninsula at a later 
period, and intermarry with the Aleik&t. 4. The Aulad 
SuleimAn, a few families near the village of Tur ; and 6, the 
Beni W&sel, who live near the ruined village of Sherm, on the 
Gulf of Akabah. These five tribes unite together whenever 
any foreign tribe of northern Bedawin attacks them ; and 
occasionally, but not often, have bloody quarrels among 
themselves. They are altogether an inferior race to their 
brethren of the Syrian deserts, and their dress is not nearly 
so picturesque. Instead of the silk hafiyeh^ bound round the 
head with a rope of twisted camePs hair, and the white flow- 
ing ahhay the Tawarah wear a turban, or sometimes a shabby 
tarhooshy on the head, and a blue or white robe is fastened 
round the waist by a leather belt^ in which are stuck a pistol, 
a knife, and some cartridges. Some of them carry a queer- 
looking sword slung across their back, and a long rusty 
gun, which looks as if it would, when discharged, injure no 
one except its owner. Their numbers are estimated at 
between 4,000 and 6,000. 

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The Tawarah are a poor tribe, for their herds are scanty 
and they have few camels, there being but little pasturage 
in the peilinsnla from the great scarcity of rain* No sheikh 
has more than eight camels, few of the men have even two ; 
sometimes two or three persons are partners in one camel, 
and numbers have none at all. They have no horses, but 
some of them own a few asses. * Their means of subsistence,' 
Burckhardt states, ' are derived from their pastures, the trans- 
port trade between Suez and Cairo * (the railway must now 
have pretty well put an end to this), ' the sale, at the latter 
place, of the charcoal which they bum in their mountains, 
of the gum arabic which they collect, and of their dates and 
other fruits. The produce of this trade is laid out by them 
at Cairo in purchasing clothing and provisions, particularly 
com, for the supply of their families, and if anything remains 
in hand they buy with it a few sheep and goats at Tor or at 
Sherm, to which latter place they are brought by the Bedawin 
of the opposite coast of Arabia.* 

Porter gives the following interesting account of some of 
their social ways : * Some of their marriage customs are so 
peculiar as to be worthy of record. The Arab maiden is 
bought, not won ; her father regulates the price according to 
his ownimportance and her beauty. It is said to range fromfive 
to thirty dollars. When the terms have been settled between 
the father and the intended bridegroom, the latter receives 
a green branch of tree or shrub, which he sticks in his turban 
and wears for three days, to show that he is espoused to a 
virgin. The young lady is seldom made acquainted with the 

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transaction. When she comes home in the evening at the 
head of her father's sheep, she is met a short distance from 
the camp by her ^ intended ' and a conple of his young friends, 
who carry her off by force to her father's tent. This, how- 
ever, requires some expertness ; for if the damsel at all sus- 
pects their designs before they get sufficiently near to seize 
her, she fights like a fury, defending herself with stones, 
and often inflicting deep wounds, even though she may not 
feel altogether indifferent to her lover. This is Desert 
etiquette, and the more she struggles the more she is 
applauded ever after by her companions. When at last 
vanquished and carried to the tent, one of the bridegroom's 
relatives throws an ahba over her, completely covering her 
head, and then pronounces the name of her husband, which to 
that moment she may not have heard. After this ceremony, 
she is dressed by her mother and female relations in new 
clothes provided by the bridegroom, placed on the back of a 
gaily caparisoned camel, and still struggling in the restrain- 
ing grasp of her husband's friends, paraded three times round 
his tent. She is then carried into the tent amid the shouts 
of the assembled encampment, and the ceremony concludes. 
A stDl more singular custom prevails among the Muzeiny, 
but is confined to that tribe. When the young lady has been 
wrapped in the ahba she is permitted to flee to the mountains, 
and the next day the bridegroom goes in pursuit. Many 
days often elapse ere he can find her ; the time is, of course, 
longer or shorter, according to the impression made on the 
fair one's heart,' 

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Sach are a few particulars respecting the inliabitantc of the 
peoinsula of Sinai, with some of whom the traveller must 
necessarily be brought a good deal in contact during his 
journey to and from the convent. I can only add my humble 
testimony, in which I think my two travelling friends will 
concur, that we found our Tawarah escort always most oblig- 
^^g9 gentle, and courteous in their intercourse^ with us, and 
it was with real regret that we said good-bye to them at 
Akabah, after sojourning together for twenty days. 

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We had been the better part of four days enjoying the 
quiet of the convent and making excursions to the neighbour- 
ing places of interest, but it was now necessary to decide as 
to our farther progress. Mr, Ashton, from the time he first 
reached Cairo, had been very anxious to undertake the 
journey to Petra, but neither Mr. Grere nor I were much 
inclined for it. We knew that it involved considerable 
extra outlay, both in time and money, and the difficulty of 
getting any information at Cairo as to the probability of 
the route being open, as well as in finding a dragoman who 
was really qualified to take travellers to the famous city, 
made us finally abandon the idea. We understood also, that 
no one had been to Petra for three years, so when we started 
from Cairo our calculations as to the supply of gold, provi- 
sions, &c., to be taken with us, were entirely based on the 
supposition that our Desert wanderings would extend only 
to the peninsula of Sinai. Now, however, our enterprising 
dragoman, Abhmet Fichawi, strongly advised us to go on 
to the Holy Land by Petra, offering to take us for an extra 

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sum which, though sufficiently large, was in reality much less 
than what the regular qualified Petra dragoman invariably 
charges. The fact is, that it is a great object with this class 
to produce testimoiLials of their fitness to conduct a party to 
the celebrated rock-hewn city, and this probably accounted 
for Achmet's eagerness that we should attempt it. It thus 
came to be a question of returning to Suez by the same route 
as that we had just traversed, or going direct to Hebron or 
Gaza across the dreary desert of "Eh, by way of Nukhl. 
This route involves, probably, several days' delay at Nukhl, 
because the Tawarah are not entitled to conduct travellers 
beyond that point. To these two alternatives was now added 
this new plan of going to Petra, and thence, by the Wady 
Arabah, to Hebron. If the latter plan were adopted, it would 
be necessary, in the first instance, to proceed to Akabah for 
the purpose of coming to terms with Sheikh Mohammed, 
without credentials from whom no traveller can enter the 
Petra territory. In the event of disturbances in the country 
rendering it unsafe to pass through Edom, all that could be 
done would be to strike off to Nukhl by the H4j road, and 
so gain the Holy Land. 

Upon a good deal of consideration, Mr. Gere and I agreed 
to try the Petra expedition after all. I all along had a 
hankering after it, so easily fell in to the change of route ; 
but our excellent American friend felt misgivings on the 
subject. He, in fact, had never contemplated even a journey 
to Mount Sinai, until Mr. Ashton and I induced him kindly 
to forego his intention of proceeding to Jerusalem by the 

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ordinary steamer route to Jaffa. The next question was, 
where could suflScient gold be obtained for our inevitable ex- 
penses in going to Petra. This, at the lowest estimate, 
would involve an extra expenditure of nearly 60Z. ; but, on 
leaving Cairo, we took only what was enough for the usual 
requirements of the journey to Jerusalem. Fortunately, 
Mr. Ashton had a good supply of circular notes, and our 
dragoman assured us that he would get tlie monks to give 
us gold in exchange for some of them, at a certain price. 
This little banking operation we accordingly effected, after 
many difficulties on the part of the holy fathers, who charged 
a very respectable commission on the transaction. Certainly 
the rate of exchange at Cairo for bank bills on London is 
generally heavily against travellers, and it might be some 
time before the notes that we now gave could be turned into 
gold. In fact, considering that the monks knew nothing 
of us, and that, although the magic autograph of Messrs. 
Coutts & Co. at the foot of a bill is held in profound 
respect on all the exchanges of Europe, still their operations 
hardly extend to the wilderness of Sinai; when one took 
these circumstances into view, the monks might well have 
declined the transaction. However, at last the necessary 
sum was counted out in Austrian gold pieces, and, in addition 
to the notes, the Superior, from whose hoards the money 
came, was fortified with a letter to the British Consul at 
Cairo, in the event of his assistance being needed in arrang- 
ing with the bankers. 

These preliminaries over, Achmet next despatched one of 

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our Arabs on a dromedary with a letter to Sheikh Moham- 
med, or his agent, at Akabah, who would, by travelling night 
and day, be able to meet us with an answer in the course of 
three or four days. All that now remained to be done was 
to get our tents and baggage in order, and to bid adieu to 
our friends the monks, after first seeing the Superior's room, 
and recording our names in the visitors' book. Any con- 
tributions which travellers think proper to give, in addition 
to the stated charge for supplies furnished from the convent 
stores, will, no doubt, be * thankfully received,' and will 
help to pay the cost of an exceedingly elegant new white 
stone campanile, or bell-tower, which was barely finished 
when we were there. It has three tiers of columns, one 
above another, and an ornate cornice at the top. The 
brethren are summoned to prayers by a sort of gong, con- 
sisting of a thin wooden board, which, when struck sharply, 
emits a sharp, distinct sound. Twice during the night we 
heard the gong sounding, and at first, in the deep stillness 
pervading the convent at that hour, it had a startling and 
peculiar efiect. But on Sunday morning, the monk whose 
duty it was to summon his brethren to early prayers, ex- 
celled his previous efforts by giving the most marvellously 
varied and involved series of rapid knockings on the board — 
some slow, others staccato and rapid — the whole being the 
result of considerable practice on this singular instrument. 

Our preparations now being complete, we were wished all 
success on our Petra expedition by the few monks with 
whom we had been brought in contact ; and, after the usual 


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difficulties in getting our escort well together, we said good- 
bye to the convent about 11 o'clock on Monday, March 4. 
We just skirted the end of the plain of Rdhah, and then pro- 
ceeded along the great Wady-esh-Sheikh, which is bounded 
on both sides by lofty granite mountains. At first it is a 
broad wady, seamed all along its face with traces of the 
winter torrents that sweep violently down these shallow 
valleys, but after a while it becomes somewhat more con- 
tracted, and then expands into an open plain. We passed 
without examination the small white tomb of Sheikh S&lih, 
fix)m whence the valley derives its name. Indeed, though 
-the Arabs hold it to be a sacred spot, and bring their rude 
offerings to hang up in the building, it has little of interest 
to recommend it to the notice of travellers. Dr. Porter 
states that once a year, in June, the whole tribe of the 
Tawarah visits the tomb, encamping round it for three days, 
and sacrifice sheep in honour of the saint. A short distance 
beyond this spot the Wady Suweirah opens out from Wady 
Sheikh, up which we turned, stopping for the afternoon near 
a well called Abu Suweirah, little more than three hours 
.from the convent. We were anxious to push on as quickly 
as possible to Akabah, but it is little use ever trying to 
impress upon the Arabs the necessity of augmenting their 
usual rate of progress, at least while in their own territories. 
It is better to understand this, and not to fret over a few 
hours seemingly lost here and there ; but, to do them justice, 
if they believe, during their progress through some neutral 
or doubtful district, that there is actual danger to be appre- 

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hended, they can get over the ground with considerable 

The well near which we pitched our tents is a very poor 
one — a mere pool of not over-clean water, close to two or 
three small enclosures of what seemingly, at one time, had 
been a miserable garden. Towards sunset I wandered away 
down to the Wady Sheikh, which at this point widens out 
to a broad plain, and clambering up a steep rock, took a last 
look at the tremendous £Etstnesses and peaks surrounding the 
scene of the giving of the law. The mind was in unison 
with the sublime associations of the spot, more especially as 
the gathering shades of night were closing in after a short 
interval of twilight, and the lifelessness and stillness of the 
place heightened the eflfect. My two friends also were 
rambling about the rocky eminences round our camp — 
indeed, Mr. Ashton was always the most active of us all, and 
especially enjoyed a good stiff climb up one of the numerous 
heights which looked down on our temporary resting-places. 
The grandeur of the Bible narrative, describing the events 
which took place in the vicinity of Sinai, is strikingly 
brought out when it is read and reverently meditated upon 
under the shadows of those mountains which, for so many 
ages of the world's history, have attracted devoted throngs 
of pilgrims from all nations. 

Next morning we started about half-past seven, and not 
long afterwards reached the top of the ridge forming the 
watershed between the two gulfs bounding the Sinaitic 
peninsula. From this point we got an extensive view across 

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the long sloping plains leading towards the Gulf of Akabah, 
with isolated masses of dusky mountains appearing on the 
distant horizon, while the huge form of Um Shaumer, 
styled by Stanley the * Mont Blanc ' of those parts, could be 
seen in the direction of Sinai, Two hours beyond this we 
entered a very narrow deep ravine, running for a long way 
through the mountains of Fer'a, which takes a sinuous course 
amid the sterile rocks. The rock is of a very dark colour, 
almost like coal or shale, but there is slate in it, and it is 
veined with streaks of porphyry. The upper parts of the 
precipitous cliffs ai'e often of sandstone, producing a curious 
mixture of colours, and showing a singular geological 
formation. After some hours of this strange, wild scenery, 
we entered the Wady S'al, and came to a halt for the night, 
before 5 o'clock, in a broad part of the valley, having some 
white-looking mountains in the hazy distance. There are 
a good number of Desert shrubs in this valley, some of them 
great favourites with the camels — especially one small green 
plant with shai'p prickles, and a quiet, unobtrusive flower. 
The sun was very hot to-day, but the wind, owing to the 
high latitudes in which we were, was very sharp. By a 
small pocket aneroid which Mr. Gere carried, we ascertained 
that we descended, about 900 feet from the watershed of the 
two ranges of country mentioned above to the spot where 
our tents were pitched. In this neighbourhood are the 
ruins of some very old enclosures, a spot called by the 
Arabs * Erweis-el-Ebeirig,' which has been identified by 
Professor Palmer as the Eibroth Eattaavah mentioned at 

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the close of Numbers (chap, xi.), one of the stations of the 

Each day's incidents of travel, such as they were, greatly 
resembled the others, and any account of a tour across this 
desert must needs be, more or less, a description of the salient 
features which the country presents to the general obser- 
vation of travellers. As I walked through the wady this 
morning, I started a hare out of a tuft of prickly shrubs, the 
first we had yet seen; and, later on in the day, three 
partridges rose near our track. This day's route lay through 
scenery entirely diflerent in character from that of the Sinai 
district. The wadys were broad, and our path led over a 
white sandy bottom, with hardly any stones on its surface. 
From this the hills, sometimes sandstone, in other parts 
limestone predominating, receded in irregular outlines and 
strangely-coloured formations. In one place they would rise 
in perpendicular cliffs, and again in curious pyramidal cones, 
while often there would be seen great detached masses of 
rock, just like islands, appearing above the ocean of smooth 
white sand. One isolated rock especially struck us, called 
by our dragoman * The Pilgrim's Mount,' for it is covered 
with Sinaitic inscriptions and rude drawings of ibexes and 
other animals. From this point we had an extensive view 
aU the way to the lofty blue ranges of mountains skirting 
the Gulf of Akabah ; but, as the wind was blowing hard, 
while the sun was unpleasantly powerful, we did not stay 
long to admire it. 

We now entered some remarkable rock scenery, unlike 

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any which we had yet encountered. Our track wonnd 
through defiles of high precipitous cliffs of limestone, the 
passage at times contracting to a mere cleft, and again 
leading across intervening belts of hard sand to a fresh 
agglomeration of fantastic rocks. In many parts the face 
of the rocks appeared as though it had been wrought into 
designs, styled in architectural phrase * vermicular ; ' and 
above this again a smooth face of rock would arise, possibly 
crowned by crumbling masses of soft sandstone. It would 
almost appear as though the chisel must have hewn the 
scrolls and tracing which met the eye on all sides, so skil- 
fully had Nature done her work. Some of the masses of rock 
were isolated from the main ranges, but all of them were 
corrugated and fissured in this strange manner, whether by 
water or by some other force it is difficult to say. This is 
the commencement of the long Wady GhuzAleh, which after- 
wards widens out to an extensive plain, where we pitched 
our tents. Near this point is Ain Hudherah, in the midst of 
pahn-groves that were once surrounded by walls, and here 
may be seen the remains of an aqueduct, as well as both 
Greek and Sinaitic inscriptions. This place has been the 
cause of much learned controversy amongst travellers and 
Biblical critics, many of whom identify it with the * Hazeroth* 
mentioned at the end of chapter xi. of Numbers — * And the 
people journeyed from Kibroth-hattaavah unto Hazeroth, 
and abode at Hazeroth/ Bobinson, Eitter, and Stanley have 
all written upon the subject, and Burckhardt makes a passing 
allusion to it, inclining apparently to the belief that this 

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palm-grove, with' its refreshing well, is Hazeroth. Here 
the children of Israel made their first halt of any duration 
after leaving Sinai, and the striking episode occurred of 
Miriam being smitten with leprosy for speaking against 
Moses. From this point they journeyed to the wilderness of 
Faran, which adjoined that of Judah, now known as Et-Tih, 
and thence wandered by the sea up the Wady Arabah to 
Kadesh. Eobinson inclines to the belief that A in Hudherah 
is truly the * Hazeroth ' of Numbers ; but the cautious Dean, 
after stating both sides of the question with his accustomed 
judicial impartiality and elegance of expression, leaves the 
reader to decide for himself. 

Nothing can exceed the savage grandeur and magnificence ' 
of the scenery in the midst of which we journeyed on the 
following day — from the wide sandy expanse of the Wady 
GhuzflJeh, through the tremendous gorges of the Wady-el-Ain, 
until our night's abode was reached within sight of the calm 
waters of the Gulf of Elath, which reflected the glories of an 
Eastern sunset. It seems to me that the published descrip- 
tions of this part of the route to Akabah give far too meagre 
an account of its truly grand features, which impressed 
themselves in the strongest manner both upon my companions 
and myself. Nothing in the whole Sinaitic peninsula that 
we had yet seen came up to the Alpine magnificence of the 
towering cliffs, and the extraordinary narrowness of those 
defiles through which we threaded our way, makes the 
impending mountain heights seem more gloomy and awfuL 
We kept for some time along the Wady Ghuzdleh, which. 

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carioosly enough, has on one side granite rocks and 
sandstone on the other. About 10 o'clock we came upon a 
range of noble mountains, apparently ofalmost equal altitude 
with any we had yet seen. They rose up in our front, seem- 
ingly barring all farther passage that way — their serrated, 
sharp peaks soaring far into the thin blue atmosphere until 
they almost kissed the sky. 

A green oasis of palm and tamarisk trees, with grass and 
reeds growing near a crystal stream, now greets the thirsty 
traveller's eye, causing a pleasant thrill of expectation. On 
reaching this we found that there was a beautifully clear 
flowing stream, meandering amidst a surrounding fringe of 
grass and rushes, until it was eventually swallowed up by the 
inexorable sand. The camels eagerly drank from its limpid 
pools, and we enjoyed the first draught of really pure water 
which had passed our lips for some days. But we were now 
wholly taken up ¥dth the extreme grandeur of the wonderful 
Wady-el-Ain, whose tortuous length we traversed during the 
rest of the day. We entered by a narrow gorge, not more 
than 20 or 30 feet wide, and glancing up at its beetling sides 
we beheld great granite masses rising precipitously aloft 
until, in some parts, they nearly met overhead. Above this 
again, crag upon crag, peak upon peak succeeded one another, 
until the mountain tops were seen far up against the azure 
sky. The rocks were beautifully streaked and coloured. 
Sometimes a long vein of dark porphyry, of a perfectly 
uniform breadth, would run obliquely along the mountain 
side for a long distance. Then strata of red and black 

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granite would be seen in juxtaposition, and masses of debris 
lay strewn about in all directions. At each sharp turn of 
the dark defile, a vast opposing waU of towering rock frowned 
sternly down upon the daring intruders who sought to enter 
this enchanted region. Eesembling the desolate magnificence 
of Alpine fajstnesses, without their clothing of dark green 
pines or their snowy summits, these inaccessible heights had 
a grandeur peculiar to themselves. There was an utter and 
overpowering stillness here which cast a spell upon the 
senses. No roar of falling torrent, or crash of an avalanche, 
re-echoed from crag to crag — hushed and death-like were 
the dark recesses of the valley. Even the harsh scream of 
the eagle was absent, though those inaccessible peaks might 
well be his home. No doubt there are times when the awful 
voice of the tempest thunders amidst those far-o£F peaks, but 
now a quivering fleecy mist alone hung lightly on their 
rent sides. 

It was a scene that the pencil of a Martin or a Dor^ would 
love to depict, and irresistibly suggested thoughts of some of 
the paintings of those artists. ^Sadak in search of the 
Waters of Oblivion,' Basselas striving to find a way out of the 
* Happy Valley,' one of the terrific gorges of the InfemOy or 
similar subjects, would find appropriate surroundings in this 
profound abyss. Assuredly, any of our artists seeking to 
depict the sublime and beautiful would do well to repair 
to the peninsula of Sinai, and exercise their art in some of 
its innumerable sequestered valleys. 

There were occasional palm and tamarisk trees nestling 

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in sheltered corners of the narrow pass, while many capfer 
plants and a stray wild fig tree here and there relieved the 
dull red hue of the clifife. We were nearly four hours in 
journeying through this tremendous mountain defile, which 
grows much wider as the wady approaches the shores of the 
Gulf of Akabah, The course of the winter's torrents is very 
distinctly defined on its sandy surface — ^long sweeping tracks 
through the gravel, huge boulders flung up near the cliffs, 
and sometimes a fallen palm tree, whose shattered trunk 
attests to the fury of the stream. At last, at about five in 
the afternoon, we came within sight of the coral strand of 
that deserted sea where once floated the proud fleets of 
Solomon, laden vdth the gold of Ophir and spices from far- 
distant India. A beautiful violet tint bathed the mountain 
ranges on the opposite shore, for the sun was fast sinking 
below the horizon.* Very glad were we to see our familiar 
white tents appearing as we rounded a sharp turn in the 
valley ; for we were tired with a long day's march, and there 
is something cheerful — nay, home-like even, in that rough 
canvas abode, with the blue smoke of a recently kindled fire 
circling around it. Then the satisfaction with which you 
throw yourself at full length on your bed, after getting rid 
of a pair of hot boots or shoes, while the good-natured dusky 
Ali bustles about with his preparations for dinner. And, 
after a few minutes of rest or sleep, as the case might be, it 
was pleasant to stroll round the camp in one's easy canvas 
shoes and watch all the preparations going on for the evening 
meals of ourselves and our attendants. 

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In the first place our stock of poultry, now sadly di- 
minished in numbers, were released from the hencoop in 
which all day long they had been shut up, and allowed to 
stray where they pleased. Poor creatures, they never went 
very far, but, after eagerly drinking some vmter, would peer 
about the tents or the camels' bags for any stray grains of 
food that they might pick up ; then, as soon as twilight 
closed in, they again instinctively sought their narrow 
quarters in the hencoop, although one would have thought 
they might prefer some less confined roosting-place. , The \ 
camels also constituted a source of constant interest with 
their strange sagacious ways, wayward, yet withal very 
docile, strong long-suffering and most patient in endur- 
ance. There the obedient creatures stand with their heavy 
load of, perhaps, 300 or 400 pounds weight, resting on 
their lank sides, where the well-worn p^k saddle has made 
deep grooves in the thick furry hair. Presently the owner 
comes up, and giving a jerk to the long rope of camePs hair 
— which, wound round the animal's jaws and head, consti- 
tutes a rough bridle — accompanied by a peculiar guttural 
hissing sound, brings the camel down with a heavy thump 
on its knees. After a deep, grumbling groan or cry, peculiar 
to the * ship of the desert,' he settles himself quietly down 
until the operation of unloading is finished. This over, he 
instantly rises, with a sort of triumphant shake of relief, and 
trots, or more generally stalks, off on an expedition of his 
own to search for grass or shrubs, which is his special 
weakness. As one by one the camels are unloaded, they 

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wander away to join their fellows, frequently straying in 
this manner for more than a mile from the camp. After 
browsing a while npon such herbage as they chance to find, 
as soon as the increasing darkness warns them that night is 
falling, they slowly return to the camp, though sometimes 
it is necessary to send one of the boys to look after such of 
the animals as may have strayed too far away. Thus they 
are gradually all gathered together, and kneel down amidst 
their masters, who have taken up their respective positions 
near the fire,and presently receive their meal of Indian com, 
an ample supply of which each camel owner has laid in at 
Cairo. The pack saddles and multifarious sacks, cloths 
and other belongings of each camel, are then piled up in a 
sort of parapet, behind which, and ftirther protected from 
the night wind by the ample forms of the docile animals, 
the Arabs curl themselves up in their scanty attire and 
contrive to pass the night comfortably enough. 

Many travellers have written of the camel, his strange 
ways and marvellous utility to his masters the wild children 
of the desert. The finest breed of this thoroughly oriental 
animal comes from the region of Mesopotamia, but very 
large fine ones, of the Turkoman breed, are raised in Anadolia. 
Nubia and Egypt also produce good animals of a lighter colour 
and smaller size. The Bedawin prefer the females to the 
males, as the former support thirst better, and their pace is 
easier in riding ; but in Egypt the males are preferred, for 
their greater ability to bear heavy loads. The French, 
during the time they held Egypt, established a corps of 500 

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camel soldiers, who kept the Bedawin in check by this 
unusual brigade of cavalry, if they may be thus styled. 
Long endurance of fatigue and thirst is one of the special 
characteristics of the camel ; in summer, for instance, the 
Nejid camel need only have water every fourth day, while 
the Anadolian requires to drink each alternate day. During 
winter, again, they hardly ever drink, except on a long 
journey ; and when the herbs and grasses on which they feed 
are fresh and juicy, the animals can dispense entirely vdth 

Their powers of endurance, even in rapid travelling, are 
remarkable. Burckhardt mentions an instance of a camel 
belonging to a mameluke Bey of Esneh which had been pur- 
chased for 150 Spanish dollars. This camel was to go for 
a wager, in one day, between sunrise and sunset, from Esneh 
to Gterme and back again, the distance being 125 miles. 
The faithful animal arrived at a village sixteen miles from 
Esneh on its return home, when its strength failed, after 
accomplishing 115 miles in eleven hours. Allowing for a 
slower rate of speed, this animal could doubtless have gone 
nearly 200 miles in the twenty-four hours. Still the speed 
of a camel, except for quite short distances, never ap- 
proaches that of a horse, although the former can keep up, 
for nine hours, a trot of twelve miles an hour. They cannot 
be induced long to keep at a gallop, half an hour or so being 
the utmost period for which a camel will sustain this rapid 
pace. Their pleasantest pace is their long swinging walk 
or amble, little better than five miles an hour ; so easy, in 

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fact, is the motion, that I frequently, especially on hot days, 
fell into a dose on the animal's back. 

The camel does not come to its perfection in size and 
appearance till it reaches the age of twelve years, although 
by this time his fur may be rather worn and discoloured. 
The hump is the great test of the beast's condition ; if it is 
well covered with fat the Arab proprietor knows that his 
faithful dromedary will do his work upon a moderate allow- 
ance of food. Sometimes, after a very long journey, the 
hump almost disappears, a sure sign of privations having 
been encountered, and not till after three or four months' 
rest and good food does the singular excrescence attain its 
wonted proportions. As a rule, the condition of the camel 
testifies to the rank and wealth of its owner ; those belong- 
ing to powerful and rich sheikhs have fat, ftdly developed 
humps, and sleek, furry sides ; whereas the poor man's camel 
is lank, humpless, and smooth-skinned. In Egypt they 
have altogether a hard time of it, having generally to carry 
enormous loads of 300 or 400 pounds weight ; besides often, 
in addition, the owner's wife and family perched above. 
They get little food, but plenty of hard knocks, and are 
dragged about with a troublesome nose-ring, this being a 
degradation which their brethren of the Desert are never 
called on to submit to. But the latter have to endure from 
time to time branding with a hot iron, for the purposes of 
identification. The mark is generally made on the animal's 
shoulder, and each tribe and family has a separate distin- 
guishing sign of their own. It is absolutely necessary that 

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some distinct means of recognising so valuable an article 
of property as this truly useful animal should exist, for it 
frequently constitutes the whole of a man's capital, stock-in- 
trade, and means of worldly subsistence. Its hair furnishes 
wool for his clothing, its milk affords him nutritious food, 
its willing back transports his habitation, his poor belong- 
ings, and his wife and family from valley to valley. The 
actual value in money of a camel in Egypt, for a fair 
average animal, may be from 80 to 100 dollars ; but 200, 
and even 300, dollars are no uncommon prices to be paid for 
fine specimens of the dromedary. Altogether, I was much 
interested in these sagacious and strange animals, and it 
was a pleasure to see the affectionate manner in which 
my special attendant, Salem by name, used to treat his 
camel, collecting quantities of the shrub he liked to browse 
upon for his evening meal, and during the march often 
feeding him with bunches of whatever herbage came to hand. 
As a rule, most writers speak favourably of the * ship of the 
desert;' but the eminent traveller, Mr. Gifford Palgrave, 
who is also well known as an accomplished author, in his 
work upon Arabia, says some very hard things respecting 
the faithful creature. 

We were now all impatient to get on to Petra, for the 
sight of the purple waters of the Gulf of Akabah had inspired 
us with fresh energy and determination. In little more 
than half an hour after leaving our camping-ground at the 
entrance of the Wady-el-Ain, we reached the shores of the 
gulf. The strand is very rocky and strewn with large stones 

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washed down from the broad wady by the winter's torrents, 
but some wide tracts of sand, covered with coarse grass, have 
been formed between the cliff and the sea. The gulf is 
about twelve or fourteen miles broad at this point, and its 
opposite coast is distinguished by the very lofty serrated 
ranges of mountains which rise up precipitously from the 
shore. These seem to extend from the entrance of the 
gulf almost as far as Akabah at its head, and seen in the 
morning sun, had a fine glow of purple colouring on their 
rugged sides. The eye ranged all along either strand, 
searching in vain for any appearance of villages or inha- 
bitants, while the calm surface of this silent sea was un- 
chequered by sail or keel. We observed a palm tree or two 
scattered here and there on the upper margin of the flat 

On the side of the gulf, along which we now slowly 
wound our way, the red sandstone cliffs slope gradually up 
from the narrow shore until they attain to some height. 
In many places, especially where, from the influence of the 
atmosphere or rush of water, a fall of rock has taken place, 
the colours of the various strata are singularly varied and 
vivid. To a certain extent they resemble the marvellous tints 
observed in the rocks of Petra, a brilliant orange and strong 
red being the prevailing hues. Then again, sometimes the 
cliffs recede from the strand, leaving a broad tract of gravel 
or stony soil, covered with short gmss, with perchance a 
thorny acacia or palm tree to afford a slight shade from the 
sun's oppressive heat. There are tolerably well-defined tracks 

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over the hard sand, for this is a route of the Tawarah on 
their road firom Sinai to Akabah. One special feature of the 
Gulf of Akabah are the quantities of red and white coral, as 
weU as many specimens of really beautifcd shells, which may 
be picked up. I must say I was inclined at times to linger 
too long in looking for specimens to bring home, but it 
was tantalising to find finely-yariegated shells very much 
injured, owing to the fierce sun having bleached their colours 
entirely away. But, still, there were an infinite variety of 
them painting the soft gravelly strand, besides many dif- 
ferent kinds of coral. The red species, with small tubes, to 
which has been given the name of the * organ pipe coral,' 
the ^ brain coral,' so called firom its resemblance to this part 
of the human head, besides all the more fin.nii1iar descriptions, 
could have been picked up in any quantities. We often saw 
great heaps of the large pyramidalnshaped shells, whose 
surface, when the outer crust is scraped o£P, is so finely 
streaked with mother-of-pearl tints. They were all empty, 
and generally much broken and discoloured, because the 
Arabs collect the shells and extract the animals from them ; 
for, when dried in the sun, they are esteemed a good article 
of diet. We pursued our way along the seashore for more 
than two hours without seeing any signs of human beings, 
when, suddenly, near a small palm-grove, we came upon 
two or three Arabs, who appeared to follow the vocation of 
fishermen. We bought a few of the familiar brown, glossy 
speckled shells of the kind which, as children, we have all 
often held to our ears to listen to the moan of the sea. 


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Achmet also purchased some very tolerable fish, which we 
had that day for dinner, infinitely superior to any of the 
Nile fish that we tasted. They are taken in a cast-net, which 
is of a circular form, loaded at the lower part with small 
pieces of lead. The fisherman walks quietly along the 
shelving rocks close to the deep water, and when he per- 
ceives a shoal of fish, throws his net in such a way that it 
lights upon the surface in its distended form, and encloses 
the fish as it sinks. There were great numbers of those 
curious creatures, the hermit crabs, lying about the beach, 
who, on the approach of our camels, would start oS just as 
the broad, ponderous foot was about to crush the diminutive 
crab, house and all. They run very &st, and seem to make 
small journeys of their own, even on to the grassy banks 
beyond the strand. No sooner is one touched on the claw 
or body, if it chances to be airing its crustaceous person in 
the sun, than the animal shrinks within its shell and resists 
all attempts to be dislodged. 

Constant headlands of rock project into the Gulf of 
Akabah all along this coast. They are separated from each 
other by bays of delightfully smooth sand, though at inter- 
vals a rocky plateau will extend some distance into the dark 
blue sea. These terraces of rock are often extensive, and 
covered with seaweed, while little pools of water are left in 
hollow places, where the naturalist would find a rare collec- 
tion of marvellous zoophytes, molluscs, and marine mosses. 
Strangely-coloured delicate feathery mosses, and minute 
varieties of seaweed, whose slimy tendrils clung to the 

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pebbles and shells, inyited to farther inspection, in the hope 
of finding some fine specimen to cany away. The tide 
recedes sufficiently far to enable yon, if the sea is calm, to 
reach the extreme verge of the shelf of rock, beyond which 
is an nn&thomed depth of water. When the surfiice is nn- 
rnffled by the wind, it is a strange sight to peer down into 
the blue depths of this deserted sea, and to mark the 
wonderfnl formations of coral which the cunning hand of 
Nature has fashioned. They assume various shapes and 
brilliant hues, sometimes a dark crimson shading away into 
a pale pink, or again, a delicate pure creamy white. A 
marvellous marine architecture truly is exposed to view in 
these crystalline depths, branches of trees, open basket* 
work, curious natural arches and massy columns, all blended 
together in defiance of order or law. Long waving stems 
of broad*leaved seaweed slowly move to and fro, with 
measured rise and fall, as they are influenced by the eddy- 
ing currents which prevail in these unknown depths. 

Our camping-ground on this, our first day's journey along 
the shores of the Gulf of Akabah, was on a sandy plain, quite 
close to the sea. It was nearly six o'clock when we reached 
the tents, and the setting sun bathed the opposite mountains 
with his rosy beams. The contrast between that warm 
blush of coloiur and the cold grey of the cliffs behind us, 
with the intervening channel of intensely purple sea, was 
singularly fine. Nothing struck me more than the rare 
beauty of the diffierent aspects of this narrow sea, according 
as it was lit up by the sun or sleeping in shade, while the 

I. 2 

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light winds and varying temperature at diflferent periods of 
tke day all contributed to influence the colouring. If a 
fleecy cloud chanced to yeil the sun for a few minutes, as it 
gradually passed away the most surprising tints would follow, 
and broad streaks of deep purple, dark green, grey, and 
pale blue would be seen at di£Eerent parts of the gulf, im- 
parting a chameleon hue to its glassy surfapce. 

This had been an important day, for, in addition to our 
reaching the far-distant Elanitic gulf, we were gladdened by 
meeting the messenger whom Achmet had despatched from 
the convent with a letter to the sheikh at Akabah. He cer- 
tainly had not wasted his time on the road, and greeted us 
with a joyftQ countenance, which already bespoke favourable 
news. Carefolly drawing forth from the folds of his cloak a 
letter duly sealed and addressed, he awaited to hear its con- 
tents, while we gathered round our dragoman in eager curi- 
osity to learn our chances of getting to Petra. The letter 
was brief, but to the point. It was from the representative 
of Sheikh Mohammed, who stated that he was delighted to 
hear of some travellers approaching Akabah, that the way to 
Petra was quite open, and that the sheikh, who was away in 
the mountains, had been sent for, and would be at Akabah 
shortly after our arrival. We were now all eagerness and 
expectation; the glories of the capital of Edom, to reach 
which so many travellers had essayed in vain, would, before 
long, be unfolded to our view, and we should be able to 
astonish our quiet friends by glowing descriptions of the 
wonders of Petra. 

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I enjoyed a delightful stroll along the still strand that even- 
ing, and drank in to the full the placid beauty of the scene as, 
one by one, the stars appeared in the sapphire sky. All dead 
and deserted was the sea ; no sound could be heard save the 
dull, distant roar of the surf upon a coral reef on the opposite 
shore ; no twinkle of fire from any stray Arab encampment 
shot a fitful gleam along the wave-kissed strand. The air was 
soft and balmy, the cliffs behind were faintly hung with a 
diaphanous mist, and a brilliant phosphorescent light made 
clusters of sparkling gems to glow for an instant, as the wave- 
lets lightly broke upon the pebbly shore. Then is the time to 
dwell fondly on home scenes, to recall the familiar faces of 
the loved ones in far-distant lands, to listen to the melody of 
voices whose lightest accents send a thrill of joy to the heart. 
The faintly remembered songs of childhood, the invigorating 
strains of youth, the joyous burst of revelry which greets 
manhood's advancing years, seem to blend into one strange, 
solemn strain as they imperceptibly mingle with the mono- 
tonous cadence of the surf of yonder coral reef! These are 
the moments which make one forget the toilsome march 
under a burning sun, between dreadful walls of overarching 
granite, or tramping wearily over the thirsty plain, panting 
for a draught of fresh water. All the long dormant poetry 
of the most stolid nature seeks to exert its potent sway, and 
the holier aspirations after the glories of the unseen world, 
which must surely influence all who visit this remarkable 
land, seem as though now they could shape themselves into 
glowing language. 

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A delightful soft morniiig greeted us on the second day of 
our march along the gulf* Pleasant it was riding on the 
camel and watching the purple waves crisply breaking upon 
the shell-strewn beach, and the gradual changes in the aspect 
of the opposite mountains as the sun rose higher in the 
heavens. My two friends are generally a good way ahead 
in the mornings, for, as usual, I lag behind to enjoy a smoke 
while the tents are being dismantled and the camels loaded. 
I occasionally try to read a book while riding, but muat 
admit that it is not comfortable work, and the half-dozen 
words or so of Arabic that one picks up are soon exhausted 
after the morning salutation between yourself and your 
camel driver. I got regularly into the way of watching that 
matutinal break-up of our comfortable establishment of the 
previous evening, the ample breakfiaist materials being dis- 
posed of, the multifarious articles of furniture and baggage 
being gradually absorbed by the different camels, and the 
old sheikh giving his orders with amazing energy and volu- 
bility of voice. A most courteous son of the desert he was, 
mild in aspect, dignified withal in appearance, though his 
arms were bare and no sandal or shoe decked his feet. But 
as all that I could do to show my appreciation of his smiling 
courtesy was, in response to his profuse touchings of heart, 
lips, and forehead, to imitate these well-meant salutations, 
our intercourse was necessarily limited. I get on better with 
our good-natured Nubian cook, who speaks Italian fluently ; 
and Ali, the civil, active waiter, with his remarkable broken 
English, is glad to give information when the dragoman is 

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on ahead. Salem, mj particular camel leader, is the owner 
of this animal and one of the baggage camels ; in fact, is 
qnite a man of property among the Tawarah. He is about 
thirty-five years of age, and possessed of a most agreeable 
countenance, besides being of a cheerful, happy disposition. 
He sings away to himself by the hour, never is out of humour, 
and is touchingly attentive to the wants of his camel. All 
day long he is on the out-look for food to give it, picking up 
large quantities of the green prickly shrub it likes, frequentiy 
going a good way off the track to find this particular plant. 
I was constantiy dismounting this day to pick up shells, as 
they happened to be very abundant. Greatly did I regret 
our inability to delay long enough to give me time to search 
more carefully for specimens which had not suffered by lying 
exposed to the powerful rays of the sun. To-day also I 
indulged in the novel sensation of a bathe, in a shallow sandy 
lagoon on one side of a ledge of rock. I had litUe fancy to 
trust myself in the deep water beyond, not only on account 
of the dangerous surf beating against the rock, but because 
visions of sharks, which abound in this gulf, came up to 
destroy any pleasure in an imrestrained swim. Soon after 
leaving this point, we proceeded along the base of some 
tolerably lofty granite cliffs on our left hand, and about half- 
past three arrived at a long jutting-out headland of rock, 
which bars fiurther progress in that direction. The only way 
to overcome this obstacle is to climb by a very steep pass, 
called the Nukb Huweimirdt, until the top of the mountain 
ridge is reached, when, by an equally precipitous path, you 

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descend to a wady which leads to the shore agaio. It was 
a wonder how the baggage camels managed to transport 
their heavy burdens up this break-neck pass, the path being 
in many places little better than natural stairs, each step 
requiring the utmost caution. Our tents were pitched at the 
entrance of the short wady on the other side of the pass, and 
within sight of the palm-groyes of Akabah. It was exces- 
sively hot in the tent that night, and we were obliged to 
divest ourselves of coat and waistcoat to get some relief; 
the thermometer stood at 75** in the tent. 

Next day was Sunday, and we welcomed the day of rest, 
as assuredly our camels did also. The thermometer was 
86* in the tent, and it was too hot to attempt walking exer- 
cise till the sun began to abate his fervent heat. We grate- 
fully, as usual, ofPered up our service of prayer and thanks- 
giving to Him who had preserved us in our wanderings and 
abxmdantly blessed our store, even in this remote wilderness. 
I bathed again this afbemoon, but the sea was not so calm 
and enjoyable as on the last occasion, and afber this we 
walked along the shore, watching the violet tints on the 
Arabian mountains gradually giving place to the grey mists 
of evening. Our Arabs were engaged this day in catching 
some large bivalves which they found in the rocks at low- 
water, and extracting the fish from the shells, which they 
subsequently boiled and ate. During most part of this day 
I lay in the tent, watching the curling green waves breaking 
upon the beach, and also did a good deal of reading. 

Started at seven the following morning, cheered with tbe 

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thoughts of reaching Akabah in a few hours. The shore here 
winds in and out into sinuous, gravelly bays, richly decorated 
with shells which tempted me, more than once, to dismount 
from my camel. About half a mile from the shore is now 
seen the small island of Kureiyeh, which hardly any traveller 
of modem times, with the exception of Laborde and WeUsted, 
has ever visited. And no wonder, for where can a boat be 
found to take across the enterprising voyager? Laborde 
constructed a raft of palm wood, binding together with 
strong cords the trunks of the trees and some branches which 
he had gathered in Wady Taba. He states that, previous 
to his visit, no European had set foot on it since the time of 
the Crusades, and that the Arabs never landed on it. The 
island is a granite rock, about 300 yards in length, con- 
taining the ruins of a mediceval fortress, encompassed by a 
wall with two gateways. Porter says that 'this is the 
stronghold of Allah, mentioned by Abulfeda ; its founder is 
unknown, but in a.d. 1182 it was besieged by Bainald of 
Ch&tillon, and resisted all his efforts to gain it. In the time 
of the Arab historian it was already abandoned.* Laborde, 
with true French love of display, had taken with him a large 
flag, which he planted on the highest rock in the island, 
taking possession of the whole in the name of France in 
March 1828. The grcmde nation is likely to retain possession 
of this valuable acquisition for all time to come, seeing that 
no European flag is ever displayed in this deserted gulf. 
The valorous Frenchman seems to have made a minute ex- 
amination of his newly-acquired territory, and gave names 

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to certain portions of the rains. These are scattered over 
two rounded hillocks, of which the island consists, one 60 
feet high and the other 150, the two being connected by a 
flat isthmus. A massive wall, with square towers at each 
angle, encompasses the ruins ; and Laborde, who paced round 
the island, found its circumference to be about 1,650 feet. 
He discovered also, in the outer western wall of the bastions, 
a white stone, covered with an Arabic inscription, which was 
imperfect and worn away, but the characters seemed to be 
of the fourteenth century. 

Wellsted, who visited the island in January 1833, when 
on a surveying expedition to the Gulf of Akabah sent out by 
the East India Company, gives a careful description of the 
ruins. He landed from one of the Company^s vessels which 
had been driven to the head of the gulf by stress of weather, 
narrowly escaping destruction off this very island, which he 
calls * Jezirat Pharoun,* Pharaoh's Isle. The ruins he de- 
scribes as follows : * Eound the summit of the northern * 
(mound) 'is another wall, enclosing a space 360 feet in 
length and 90 feet in breadth, which approaches occasionally 
so close to the precipice as to appear merely a continuation 
of it. Where it remained entire, it was 30 feet in height and 
6 feet in thickness. The upper part is turreted, and there 
are some openings resembling embrasures, as well as numer- 
ous loopholes. Within this area the surface of the hill is 
covered with many square buildings, separated from each 
other by thick walls. Entering one of these edifices by a 

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small door in the upper part, we descended by narrow steps 
to a vaolted chamber, the roof of which was supported by 
two arches, resting in the centre on a Doric column. This 
building, and the entrance on the north-eastern side, are of 
freestone, but the rest of the pile has been rudely constructed 
of unhewn stones, cemented by a coarse mortar. Scattered 
amidst the rubbish we found fragments of marble entabla- 
tures and pillars, and may thence conclude that these remains 
occupy the site of some edifice more ancient and costly than 
the present. The southern hillock presents an undistinguish- 
able mass of ruins. We could find no water on any part of 
the island; but, on the northern mound, some extensive 
tanks have, with great labour, been excavated from the rock. 
On the isthmus which connects the hillocks, there are two 
rows of small square buildings, having a lagoon extend- 
ing to them, which, though now choked up with sand, ap- 
pears to have formerly answered as a harbour. Bedawin 
tradition ascribes these works to Saladin; but there is 
reason to believe the station, from the very earliest period, 
must have been of great importance ; for, unless, as in some 
parts of the Mediterranean, they had artificial harbours at 
the time this line of communication was adopted, there is 
no other spot where the bark of the merchant could have 
found shelter. Should war or pestilence ever intercept the 
intercourse through Egypt, it may again be necessary to 
adopt this, the oldest, but now almost forgotten route, in 
which case Jezirat Pharoun would be invaluable as a coal 

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dep6t.* In a foot-note he adds : * A Soman road formerly 
extended from Akabah to Ghaza, and the direct distance 
between the two seas is only 120 miles.' So mnch for 
* Graia,* as Laborde styles it ; * Jezirat Pharonn,* or Kurei- 
yeh, * the village/ according to more recent orthography. 

We looked wistftdly at the pictnresqne rains which we had 
no means of visiting, and passed along the winding shores 
of the gulf, cheered by the prospect of soon reaching so im- 
portant a stage in our journey. We now gained the entrance 
of Wady Tabah, a long valley striking inland in a northern 
direction, and clothed, in some parts, with tamarisks and 
palm trees. There is a fine cluster of duom palms round a 
well at the broad flat mouth of the wady, which we specially 
noted, as this description of palm is rare in the Sinaitic 
peninsula* It was blowing very hard when we neared the 
head of the gulf, the wind coming with unchecked force down 
the noble Wady Arabah which now lay right before us, 
stretching away beyond the horizon in one unvarying even 
sandy plain, bounded on the right by the red mountains of 
Edom. We reached the extremity of the gulf about eleven 
o'clock, and passed the rock which marks the frontier line 
between the territories of the Bedawin of Sinai and those 
who dwell north of the peninsula. The head of the gulf is 
a perfectly straight line of strand extending between the two 
shores, probably about two miles in length. Beyond the 
narrow strip of gravelly beach is the commencement of the 
hard sandy plain, reaching to the base of the T5h Mountains, 
the end of the Wady Arabah. Here we saw numerous broad 

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regular tracks, made by the Mecca caravan and the many 
pilgrims who trarerse this route past the fortress of Akabah, 
whose grey towers we could but fSEuntly descry amid the 
surrounding palm-groyes, which give a delicious aspect of 
verdure to this sun-scorched, arid spot. 

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The Gulf of Akabah, along whose shores we have been pnr- 
suing our way for some days past, extends from the island of 
Tiran, at its entrance, where its waters mingle with those 
of the Bed Sea, for nearly 100 miles in a north-eastern 
direction, until it meets the wide valley of the Arabah. It 
was called by the ancients the Sintis Elamticus, from the 
port of Elan at its northern end. The Greeks style it by 
the name of the Gulf of Elath or Ailah, but it was unknown 
to Europeans for hundreds of years. All along its sides are 
precipitous mountains, rising in some parts to the height of 
2,000 feet, and the general aspect of its shores is that of 
sterile magnificence. The Arabs dread its waters on account 
of the frequent storms which prevail, and no commerce 
exists along its deserted shores to make it worth while for 
European vessels to run the risks of its hidden reefs, dan- 
gerous currents, and uncertain navigation. 

Yet the wealth of the Indies was once conveyed along its 
dark waters to the port of Ezion-Geber, whose site must 
have been close to the few scattered houses which constitute 

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the modem town, or rather village, of Akabah. Wo read in 
1 Kings, chap. ix. 26, * And King Solomon made a navy of 
ships in Ezion-(Jeber, which is beside Eloth, on the shore of 
the Bed Sea, in the land of Edom/ (Verse 27.) ' And Hiram 
sent in the navy his servants, shipmen that had knowledge 
of the sea, with the servants of Solomon/ (Verse 28.) * And 
thej came to Ophir, and fetched from thence gold, four hnn* 
dred and twenty talents, and brought it to King Solomon/ 
In 2 Kings, chap. xiv. 22, we read how Azariah, King of 
Judah, ^ built Elath and restored it to Judah ; ' but it sub- 
sequently was taken possession of by the King of Syria, as 
narrated in the 16th chapter of same Book, v. 6 : ^ At that 
time, Eezin, King of Syria, recovered Elath to Syria, and 
drove the Jews from Elath ; and the Syrians came to Elath 
and dwelt there until this day.' After the Greeks and 
Eomans successively occupied the country, it was still a place 
of commercial importance, and as the cycle of events rolled 
on, became the seat of an episcopal see, its bishops attend- 
ing certain councils of the Church. The crusaders held it 
for a time, Bd^ldwin, King of Jerusalem, having planted a 
garrison in it in the year 1116 ; but, after the lapse of fifty 
years, Saladin once more restored it to the dominion of the 
Saracens. The sole importance which Akabah now enjoys 
is from its being a station on the H&j route to Mecca, and 
the castle contains a small Turkish garrison of some fifty 
soldiers and fifteen artillerymen to guard the provisions 
stored here for the pilgrims. It also serves as a dep6t of 
arms and basis of operations in any military expeditions or 

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incursions into the Desert. There are also a few tents for 
the purpose of accommodating travellers from any ports of 
the Red Sea or other places where cholera prevails, who 
must here undergo quarantine for ten or twelve days. Of 
recent years Akabah has been made a quarantine station, 
and certainly I do not envy those who have to swelter in 
these wretched little tents, which^seemed insufficient in size 
for even one full-grown person. On first approaching the 
town it has a pleasing appearance, for the surrounding 
luxuriant palm-groves, with fertile gardens scattered be- 
tween, and the towers of the castle, give an air of prosperity 
to the place, which further acquaintance dispels. You pass 
beside the gardens to reach the castle, and can look over the 
rough stone wall which surrounds each inclosure. There is 
abundance of water, with which the Arabs irrigate their 
garden plots ; the soil is by no means bad, and there is an 
ample supply of various descriptions of vegetables and fruits. 
In the centre of each garden I observed a sort of hut, 
formed of mud and palm branches, where the owner, with his 
family, seemed to take his ease during the heat of the day ; 
not that they had an idle time of it when we were there, for 
there was a visitation of locusts during two days of our stay, 
that kept all hands employed in driving off these destructive 
creatures. The air was filled with myriads of them, not 
literally obscuring the sunlight, but in numbers that re- 
sembled the faU of a continuous shower of heavy snow-flakes. 
They fell about our tent, covering the sand and clustering 
on the palm trees, but specially directing their unwelcome 

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attentions to the vegetables in the garden. Women and 
children, with boughs in their hands to beat off the in- 
truders, ran about uttering shrill cries, and they must have 
been thankful when the strong breeze, which subsequently 
sprung up, carried their winged tormentors away. 

The palm-groves extend along the shore for nearly a mile, 
and there are several other extensive ones in the vicinity of 
the town. There is but a narrow strip of beach between the 
gardens and the sea, and this space seems a fiivourite spot 
with the idlers of the garrison and town. In the evening 
there would generally be one or two fishermen prosecuting 
their calling with a cast-net ; or we would perhaps see some 
of the inhabitants washing both their clothes and their 
bodies in the pure waters of the bay. But it is the castle 
which gives an air of consequence to this remote station in 
the wOdemess, it being the third fortified place on the route 
to Mecca. The first on the road from Cairo is Ajrud, near 
Suez ; the second, the fortress of N^khl, on the great wilder- 
ness of Tih, and then Akabah. It stands somewhat on a 
rising ground, with the mud houses of the town built close up 
to its sides, and on the east are ranges of low sand hills, 
which gradually slope upwards to the lofty mountains bor- 
dering the Arabian side of the gulf. The building is square, 
with walls 01 alternate bands of red and white stones, 
strengthened at the comers by towers, and is supposed to 
have been erected in the sixteenth century. In the centre 
of the north wall, which is about 30 feet high, is a massive 
archway admitting to the fortress, with stone divans inside 


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its thick walls, aboye which are hung a miscellaneoas collec- 
tion of long rusty flint muskets that had certainly seen their 
best days. The interior is an open courtyard, round which 
extends a series of rickety wooden and plaster buildings, 
with small windows to admit lights formed of bars of wood 
crossed, thus entirely dispensing with glass. In these miser- 
able dwellings we were told that the wives of the goyemor, 
the gunner, and other officials live. At one end of the paved 
court is a deep well of good water, which supplies the 
inhabitants and pilgrims ; and there are, besides, stowing- 
places for the com that is dispensed to the pilgrims. We 
ascended by a rude staircase to the top of a tower on the north 
wall, and found there a solitary iron cannon, evidently of gresA 
antiquity, and quite unfit for use, mounted on the parapet by 
way of terrifying the lawless Bedawin who encamp outside 
the town at certain seasons. Down below in the courtyard 
there is a more respectable brass cannon, mounted on wheels, 
which, with the flint muskets in the gateway, constituted 
the whole armament of this formidable fortress. 

Altogether, the normal condition of Akabah is that of a half- 
deserted Arab town, only without the bustle of those bazaars 
which give life to one of similar size in Egypt. But when the 
Mecca caravan comes, with its attendant gay Bedawin escort, 
mounted on their fleet dromedaries, the prosperous Cairene 
merchants and gentlemen, dressed in rich silks and armed 
to the teeth, their harems probably following in gold em- 
broidered, brilliantly-coloured palanquins; the swarms of 
pilgrims of all classes and ages, from the rich emir, with a 

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stad of horses, grooms and servants, to minister to his wants, 
to the miserable, starving dervish, intent on extracting abns 
from his charitable fellow pilgrims — ^when all this motley 
and gailj-dressed crowd surges around the hovdb of Akabah, 
we may well believe the place is in a bustle. Add to this 
the wild Bedawin, who flock to the town on such occasions 
to dispose of sheep, butter and milk to the pilgrims, and we 
maj weU conceive what a Babel of confusion, noise and 
shouting the placid waters of the bay will witness. Bartlett, 
who was fortunate enough to meet the Mecca caravan not 
far from Akabah on his return frx>m Petra, has given an 
animated description of it, enriched with one of his beau- 
tiful illustrations : ' In front is a crowd of Bedawin, some on 
dromedaries, some on horses, who wheel about the van of 
the long procession, displaying their skill in horsemanship 
by way of amusement. Then comes the main body of the 
caravan, preceded by a crowd of stragglers from among the 
lowest class of the inhabitants of Cairo ; some on foot, some 
on donkeys, women even bearing their children on their 
shoulders, aU of whom have set out in blind reliance on the 
providence of Allah ; many of them, alas ! destined to fall 
victims to the immense fatigues of the journey. Next come 
the rich merchants and retired officials, the aristocracy of 
Cairo, with numerous attendant camels conveying their 
ample tents and furnishings, most of them weU armed and 
prepared for any emergency.' Burckhardt mentions that ^ in 
1816 several grandees from Cairo joined the H&j, one of 
whom had 110 camels for the transport of his baggage and 

M 2 

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retiuue, and eight tents; his travelling expenses in coming 
and going mnst have amounted to 10,0001/ The caravan 
advances five camels abreast. There are in the van cannon 
drawn bj three camels on sledges, each with a soldier on 
his back ; the duty of the latter is to announce the time for 
halting and starting bj gunfire. In the centre come the 
gay palanquins, containing the fiedr ones who are in attend- 
ance on their lords and masters. Some of these palanquins 
are ^ quite radiant with crimson or green silk, embroidered 
in gold, surmounted with glittering crescents, and having 
small windows, latticed without and lined within with look- 
ing glass; most of these, on account of the heat, were 
thrown open, and admitted occasional peeps at the languid, 
sleepy eyes within.' The sumptuous carriage of the Emir- 
el-Hadj, who rules over the whole caravan, is near the long 
string of palanquins ; and then comes the central and most 
important part of the procession, ^the Mahmdl, or camel 
selected to convey, under a costly canopy, the copy of the 
Koran sent to Mecca.' The camel who bears the MdhmaX is 
exempt ever after from ordinary labour on account of his 
precious burden, which ^ consists of a square wooden frume, 
terminating in a pyramidal form, covered with a dark bro- 
cade, and highly ornamented with gilt fringes and tassels.' 

The journey from Cairo to Mecca occupies about thirty- 
seven days, and the caravan has to encounter considerable 
danger fix)m the warlike Bedawin tribes, who frequently 
endeavour to cut oflF a part of it by open force. The great 
object of the wanderers is to acquire the title of Hadji, or 

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pilgrim, and to have the priyUege of wearing a green tur- 
ban, which only those who have been to Mecca are entitled 
to display. Arrived at the holy city he has to go through 
various ceremonies, such as compassing the Eaabeh seven 
times, and kissing the ^ black stone ' in each round ; but, 
above all, he must visit Mount Araf&t in the afternoon of 
the ninth of the month of Zul Hady/ Next evening, the 
pilgrims commence their return, after sunset, to Mecca, 
having completed the * ceremonies of the pilgrimage,* says 
Burckhardt, * by a sacrifice, part of the flesh of which they 
eat, and part give to the poor. This is called El-Fida, the 
ransom, as it is performed in commemoration of the ransom 
of Is'mael (or Ishmael) when he was about to be offered by 
his father Abraham ; for it is the general opinion of the 
Muslims that it was this son, and not Isaac, who was to have 
been sacrificed.' 

However, during our stay, everything wore its wonted 
aspect of wearisome deadness and inactivity. Although 
there are some 200 inhabitants in the town, we hardly ever 
saw any of them, except the officials and hangers-on of the 
governor, who frequented our tents for the purpose of ex- 
torting as much as they could out of our dragoman, who had 
to keep a constant supply of coffee and tobacco going. The 
whole system, when a party of travellers reach Akabah, is 
based upon the idea of keeping them as long as possible 
there, and making extortionate terms for taking them to 
Petra. It seemed to us that the governor. Sheikh Moham- 
med, and the soldiers, looked upon us as fair game to be 

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plondered and fleeced. We reached the grove of palm trees 
outside the town, in the centre of which our tents were 
pitched, soon after one o'clock in the afternoon of Monday, 
March 11. Our arriyal was very soon known, and the go- 
vernor, an elderly Arab, some soldiers from the garrison in 
Bedawin costume, an Italian clerk or official connected with 
the quarantine, who gave me a dismal account of the place, 
and other individuals, dropped in one by one. The governor 
insisted in honouring us with a guard of five soldiers, for 
which Achmet had the pleasure of paying handsomely, and 
these gentry lay at night outside our tent, making them- 
selves scarce during the day, for which we were not sorry. 
The sheikh's representative was there also, all smiles and 
amiability, assuring us that his principal would be back to- 
morrow, when everything would be arranged. So we were 
much elated at the prospect; and Achmet produced figs, 
biscuits, coffee and tobacco, with which he regaled our 
visitors, who made themselves quite at home in his tent, 
though they merciftilly kept outside of ours. The heat all 
the afbernoon was intense, but for a short period at sunset 
ifc grew cool, and then again at night was as warm as ever. 
Very delightful was the evening walk along the margin of 
the quiet bay, watching the stars come forth, one by one, 
and the dark palm-groves faintly sighed as the night breeze 
gently stirred their fan-like branches. It was so clear that 
the ranges of mountains on both sides of the gulf could be 
distinctly seen ; and no footsteps, save our own, disturbed 
the calm which hung over the scene. The broad plain of 

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the Arabah could be faintly distinguished, stretching away 
in misfcy indistinctness — that plain which once resounded to 
the tread of the warlike host of Israel, as they wound along 
the foot of the mountains of Edom on their return fix)ui 

Next day was again intensely hot, the thermometer mark- 
ing 91° in our tent at noon. Achmet was very desponding 
in the forenoon, as neither Sheikh Mohammed, the governor, 
nor anyone in authority, made their appearance, without 
whose co-operation further arrangements could not be made. 
At last we grew tired of waiting, and getting no reply to sun- 
dry messages sent by us, Mr. Ashton and I, with Achmet, 
went to pay the governor a visit, and found his Excellency 
sitting at the entrance to the castle, with a select circle of 
picturesquely-attired attendants round him. He received us 
most politely, sent for chairs and coffee, and, when we took 
our seats, all the rest of the party assumed the peculiar Arab 
sitting position, some crossing their legs, others crouching 
down in such a position that the weight of the body rested 
upon the calves of the legs. The chief talking was done by 
Aehmet and the governor's secretary, the great man himself 
smoking vigorously, but only speaking when appealed to 
specially by Achmet. Our great object was to find out why 
the sheikh did not appear, after his agent writing to us that 
everything would be ready for a start on our arrival at Akabah, 
All that we could extract was an assurance that it was all 
right, and that the sheikh would positively come to-day. 
There was nothing for it but patience, and after examining 

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the interior of the castle, we returned to our tents little 
wiser than when we left them. To our great delight^ 
however, shortly after twelve o'clock we were told that the 
sheikh's brothers were coming ; and, sure enough, in a few 
minutes two grave-looking Arabs rode slowly up on horse- 
back, and it was announced that Mohammed himself would 
follow. Their costume was picturesque ; on their head was 
the silk hifiyehy which is so folded on the head that one 
comer hangs back while the other two comers fall over the 
forepart of the shoulders, the whole fSiJstened round the head 
by a cord of camel's hair; then the flowing ahha^ striped 
alternately with white and brown rows, is loosely worn over 
a white cotton shirt ; round their waists were broad belts, 
stuck fall of pistols, cartridges, and knives, and seated on 
horseback the two chiefs had a warlike and imposing appear- 
ance. They bore in their hands long spears, with tufbs of 
ostrich feathers near the head, and also possessed rusty flint 

When we saw them approaching, we quitted our tent and 
stood prepared to receive them with the consideration to 
which such important persons were entitled; in £Eict, we con- 
founded them with Sheikh Mohammed himself, who did not 
appear on the scene till some time later. They dismounted 
when near the tents, planted their long spears in the sand 
beside their horses, and shook hands with us very cordially, 
at the same time touching their hearts and pointing to their 
foreheads. This they did also to the dragoman, the Tawa- 
rah sheikh, and others of our party who came up. With 

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their own partdcnlar friends they went through the peculiar 
ceremony of first touching their heads together gravely and 
solemnly. Achmet brought out our best rugs, and we all sat 
down while coffee and pipes were got ready, and the usual 
ceremonious speeches were made, but of course we could not 
proceed to real business until Mohammed arrived* True 
enough, he did shortly after this make his appearance, riding 
up in a dignified manner on a dromedary, alone and un- 
attended. He is a handsome man, about forty-five years of 
age, with a resolute face, a clear dark eye, aud a neatly- 
trimmed beard streaked with grey. Bartlett, who saw him 
at Akabah many years ago, during the lifetime of his fietther, 
the notorious Sheikh Hussein, describes him as having <a look 
of desert blood and breeding about him, a general delicacy 
and refinement of appearance, and superior manners; but 
his full, dark, half-languishing eye, probably a copy of his 
Arab mother's, somehow or other never woidd look one in 
the face/ Stanley also appears to have been favourably im- 
pressed with the manners of the then youthful sheikh, and 
alludes to the ^princely courtesy' with which he treated their 
party. The sheikh was dressed much like his half-brothers, 
only that in addition to the handsome yellow silk hufvyeh 
on his head, he wore another rotmd his neck and shoulders, 
and had on a fine shirt of pint cashmere, or similar soft 
material, which gave an artistic finish to his costume. 

As if by a preconcerted arrangement, the governor, his 
secretary and staff, now reappeared on the scene, and we 
all formed quite a small parliament as we sat in a semicircle 

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under the shade of the paJtn trees. I could not help speciallj 
noticing the truly oriental character of the scene as it appeared 
from where I sat. The sheikh, with his brothers on either 
side, their dark flashing eyes half-hidden under the silken 
head-dress; their followers in fuU flowing Bedawin costume, 
well-armed and resolute men ; the governor, with his white 
turban, crimson robe, and yellow tumed-up slippers; the 
Tawarah sheikh in a coarse blue dress, with a voluminous 
turban on his head, but fax inferior in appearance to his 
brother potentate of the Alawin; our dragoman, the in- 
valuable Achmet, with his dark alpaca loose jacket and full 
Turkish trousers, a many-hued group, each man presenting 
different characteristics, and to complete the picture, the 
three Frank travellers who were the cause of this important 
conclave being held. But the remarkable accessories of the 
scene should be also duly noticed — the lofty palm trees, 
which sheltered us from the sun ; the white tents, with the 
British flag flying in front; the calm waters of the gulf, 
reflecting an overarching canopy of azure sky in their placid 
bosom; the shell-strewn strand, stretching away in long 
sinuous reaches till it was lost in the desert of the Arabah, 
with the granite ranges of the Sinaitic peninsula swelling 
proudly upwards from the opposite line of shore. 

The debate was long ; many pipes were smoked and much 
coffee drunk, but the residt was that to Petra we shoidd go. 
The very importaiit question of payment did not concern us 
so much as our dragoman, for we had made our bargain 
with him at Sinai, in terms of which we merely paid him a 

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certain specified sam. In fairness to Iiim I do not mention 
ity for it was, we suspected, inadequate, and would only mis- 
lead future travellers, though it seemed to us a considerable 
amount when first proposed. However, we felt it to be right, 
at the end of our journey at Beyrout, to present Achmet 
with an extra amount, which we judged would be sufficient 
to cover any loss he might have sustained by our Petra 
expedition. I understood, however, that the sheikh exacted 
something like 40i. for the fourteen days* use we had of four- 
teen camels and the escort, such as it was ; in addition to 
which there was heavy ba^kaheeshy which had to be paid to 
Sheikh Mohammed for permission to pass through his terri- 
tories, and also to the sheikh of the Fellaheen at Petra ; so 
that 701. or 76Z, is the very least which ought to be allowed 
as the cost of an excursion from Akabah to Wady M^a.^ 
But the principal part of the monetary transactions with the 
sheikh was arranged by Achmet in our own tent for the sake 

■ Mr. AshtoD, like myself, had difficulty in amving at the exact cost of cor 
Petra ezpeditioD, but his figures nearly coincide with my own : fourteen camels at 
■ 14 dollars each; 28/. backsheesh at Akabah; 15/. more backsheesh to sheikhs at 
Petra : altof^ether little short of 85/. Travellers must make up their minds to 
several days' detention at Akabah. They are looked upon as fair game for plimder 
on the part of the sheikh, his family, the governor and officials of the garrison, 
and others. These high and mighty personages have adopted and improved upon 
a part of the programme of certain of our reformers, for they expect to find in the 
travellera' tent not only a * free breakfast-table/ but ' firee ' luncheons, dinners, 
suppers, coffee and tobacco. Every exertion should be made to expedite arrange- 
ments, and the travellers ought not to let their Tawarab escort leave until matters 
have been concluded with their new allies. The sheikh should be clearly made to 
understand that if he does not come to terms at once the travellers will start for 
Nukbl. Care should also be taken that a proper escort is provided, not a few 
mere boys and old men such as we had. 

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of privacy ; and the cliieftainy I regretted to observe, entirely 
dropped the grand, dignified manner wliich became him so 
well in public, and displayed a keen spirit of avarice which 
opened our eyes to his true character. It must have been 
an immense relief to our dragoman, cook, and waiter when 
the negotiations were finally concluded, be<5ause they were 
obliged to entertain the chief men at both dinner and supper, 
and our supplies were showing serious symptoms of diminu- 
tion. Next day there were no signs of preparations for a 
start ; evidently matters were to be allowed to go on quietly ; 
the camels had to be sent for, pi^visions laid in, and various 
details attended to. All of this was very irksome, but the 
traveller is, of course, utterly powerless, as he has placed 
himself absolutely in the hands of his new allies, for the 
escort of Tawarah Arabs, who have so faithfully brought us 
from Suez across the peninsula to this place, beyond wliich 
they dare not stir, now take their departure. We were quite 
sorry when the gentle children of the desert came, one by 
one, to say good-bye, and to shake us by the hand for the 
last time. They also seemed sorry to part with us, and were 
grateful for the trifling presents which we made to each* 
Last of aU the mild sheikh made his farewell salutation, and 
we greatly regretted that, having never contemplated taking 
this route, we were unprovided with sufficient money to make 
an adequate present over and above the stipulated sum 
which each received from the dragoman. It was with 
wistful, longing eyes that we watched the small party of 
Tawarah defile along the shore on their way to their home 

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in some distant yallej, for with them departed onr only 
means of retracing our steps, should that be necessary. 
However, there was now nothing for it but to trust to the 
good faith of our new allies, who have never possessed the 
best of characters for honesty and good government. 

Seeing that we are now about to penetrate still &rther 
into the territories of the wild children of the desert, it may 
not be deemed out of place to give a few particulars of their 
customs and mode of life. Throughout the great Syrian and 
Arabian deserts the wandering tribes are scattered, inlia- 
biting sometimes vast districts, perhaps of 40,000 square 
miles, while some of the smaller tribes may encamp in a remote 
valley, where are one or two wells of water for their camels 
and flocks. To attempt to enumerate the names of even the 
principal tribes would occupy far too great a space in this 
hasty narrative of travel, therefore the barest sketch of their 
social economy must suffice. ^ The Bedawin,' says Burck- 
hardt) ^ maybe classed under two different heads ; some who, 
in spring and summer, approach the cultivated parts of Syria, 
and quit them towards winter, and others who remain the 
whole year in the vicinity of the cultivated tracts.* The first 
of those are the Aenezes, the most powerful tribe near Syria, 
and with their brethren in Nedjid constitute one of the most 
considerable Bedawin bodies in Arabia. After spending tbeir 
time in summer near the borders of Syria, seeking pasture 
and water, they purchase in autumn their wheat and barley 
for winter, and then seek again their desert homes. Num- 
bering altogether 300,000 or 400,000 souls, they are divided 

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into numerous subsidiary tribes, and can bring powerful 
armies into the field if disputes arise between tbem and the 
Turldsh goyemors or pashas. 

The Bedawin haye essentiallj nomadic habits, for in sum- 
mer thej rarely remain aboye three or four days in the same 
spot, just sufficiently long for their cattle to consume all the 
ayailable herbage. The encampments of tents yary in number 
from eight or ten to as many hundreds ; when few, they are 
pitched in a circle, and if numerous, in a straight line, or in 
rows. In winter, howeyer, the whole tribe settles on the 
plain in groups of three or four tents, with half a mile's 
interyal between each, the sheikh's tent being pitched on 
the west side of the camp. On the march they proceed as 
follows : First fiye or six horsemen ride about four miles in 
adyance to reconnoitre the country ; then in the yan of the 
main body come first armed horsemen and camel-riders, 
100 yards apart from one another, their line extending along 
the whole front; then follow the she-camels and their young 
ones, grazing on any herbage they may pick up on the march ; 
after them the camels bearing the tents, baggage, and pro- 
visions ; and lastly, the women and children. The men ride 
indiscriminately amidst the whole body, though generally in 
front of the line. 

As is well known, the Bedawin always dwell in tents, which 
consist of a coyering of black goat's-hair, three-quarters of a 
yard in breadth, and in length equal to that of the tent ; 
and, as desired, ten or more of these pieces may be stitched 
together to giye due breadth to the tent. There are usually 

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nine posts to support the roof or covering, three in the middle 
of the tent and an equal number on either side. For the 
better stabilitj of the tent and covering, many precautions 
are taken by stitching pieces of old cloaks or cloth on to 
the roof, where it receives the tops of the poles, and ropes 
fastened on to the strongest part of the covering, where it 
meets the supports, are firmly fixed into the ground outside 
by stout, short pieces of wood. The tent is divided into two 
parts, one for the men and the other for the women ; the 
apartment of the former being generally on the left hand as 
you enter, and that of the women on the right. A iliick 
white woollen carpet of Damascus manufacture, drawn right 
across the tent, separates the two apartments, which are also 
carpeted with Persian or Bagdad rugs. 

The dress of the Bedawin men is suitable to their wild 
life. In summer they wear a coarse cotton shirt, over which 
the wealthy put a long robe of silk, or some rich stuff, but 
most of them have simply a wooUen mantle. Sometimes 
these mantles, or aibasy are of costly materials interwoven 
with gold. As a rule, the men are almost all barefooted, 
though they like to sport long large yeUow boots, and the 
hufiyeh is very generally worn as a head-dress. In winter 
a pelisse of sheepskins, stitched together, is worn over the 
shirt, but it is surprising how hardy in enduring the cold 
the Arabs are. The women wear a wide cotton gown of a 
dark colour, blue, brown, or black, while their heads are 
covered by a kerchief, called a shanber or meJeronei the 
younger ladies indulging in gay colours, but the older 

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women are content with sober black or brown. They are 
partial to silver rings, both in noses and ears, and wear 
silver and glass bracelets on the arms, and sometimes those 
who are rich have silver chains round their necks. Their 
faces are half-covered with a dark-coloured veil, called nekye, 
which is 60 tied as to conceal the chin and month ; like the 
n^en, thej go barefooted. 

Lances are the conunonest arms of the Bedawin, some 
made of wood and others of a light bamboo with many 
knots, and the shaft is finished off with an iron or steel- 
pointed head. Sometimes the head is beantifdlly inlaid 
with Damascene work of silver or gold ; at the other end is 
a strong iron point, to enable the lance to stick readily in 
the ground. It is often ornamented with tufts of feathers 
or strips and fringes of coloured cloth. The lance is thrown, 
but not to any distance, and only when they are pretty sure 
of their mark. In addition, the warrior has in his belt 
generally one or two pistols and the long knife called a 
sekem. Many of the men also have guns, and some few 
warriors possess even a coat of mail. Of course, all the 
tribes have not this amount of offensive weapons, for in 
some cases clubs of difiEerent sorts are carried, some entirely 
wooden, others of wood with iron heads. Among the Ta- 
warah, for instance, guns were rare, and a long curved rude 
sword seemed the commonest weapon. 

The diet of the Arabs is simple, and they can go through 
a wonderful amount of fatigue on what we would consider 
remarkably short commons. They never indulge in luxuries. 

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except on the occasion of a festival or on arrival of a stranger 
of distinction, or one whom they wish to hononr. Bread is 
mnch nsed, of two sorts, both nnleavened ; one is baked in 
round cakes on a plate of iron, and the other way is bj 
nin.1ring a circle of small stones, over which a fire is kindled ; 
when they are sufficiently heated, the fire is removed and 
the paste spread over the hot stones, covered with ashes and 
left till baked. Among the poorer tribes, a coarser cake is 
made of meal, which has been mixed with water and formed 
into a circular fiat mass, and this is thrust in among the 
hot embers of a fire and left until it becomes partially baked, 
when it is taken out and eaten. The ayesh is the daily 
dish with the Aenezes i it is composed of flour and sour 
camel's milk made into a paste and boiled. Then they use 
rice and flour boiled with sweet camel's milk, and bread, 
butter, and dates all mashed up into a paste. Another 
favourite dish is called ftita^ an unleavened paste of flour 
and water baked in hot ashes, and mixed with butter, when 
the whole is kneaded and served up in a bowl of wood or 
leather. Kemmaye is also a staple article of food ; it is a 
kind of truffle growing in the desert, without any appearance 
of roots or seeds. If there has been much rain in winter the 
truffles are found about the end of March ; they are about 
four inches below ground, and the children and servants 
dig them out with short sticks. The hemmayea are boiled in 
wat^ or milk till they form a paste, over which melted 
butter is poured, and they are sometimes roasted and eaten 
with melted butter. 


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p^ ^J.1 llllllll 


When a stranger arriyes, the resources of the Bedawin 
cuisine are taxed to the utmost, for hospitality is one of their 
well-known good qualities. For a common guest bread is 
baked and served up with the ayesh, and if he is a man of 
consideration, coffee is prepared, and melted butter forms 
part of the garnishing of one of the dishes ; but for a man 
of rank, a kid or a lamb is killed. The lamb is boiled with 
a preparation of wheat and camel's milk, and appears in a 
large wooden dish, round which the meat is placed, and as 
an accompaniment, the melted ^ease of the animal is served 
up in a wooden bowl, into which each morsel of the meat is 
dipped before being eaten. It is very rarely, indeed, that a 
camel is killed, but if it should be, it is cut \xp into largQ 
pieces, some part is boiled, others roasted, and the whole 
tribe partake of the feast. It cannot be said that the Arabs 
are specially cleanly in their mode of. eating. Th^y certainly 
wash their hands before dinner, but they d.o not scruple to 
thrust the whole hand into the dish before them^ and bring 
out pieces of bread, or some wheat preparation, covered ov^ 
with the contents of the mess. They breakfast about ten 
o'clock, and take their supper at sunset, and they do not sit 
long over their meals. The fair sex are not present on the9e 
festive occasions, as they always eat by themselves in ihei? 
own apartment. Meat is a luxury which they are rariely 
indulged in by their lords, and the ladies are thought to be 
well off if they get the head, liver, and legs of the a-nimal, 
whose daintier parts go to swell the merm of the master of 
the establishment. * 

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The industries of the Bedawin are but few, for their wants 
are limited to Hie ordinary requirements of a wandering 
people. The blacksmith's and saddler's are nearly all the 
trades they practise, and if we add the arts of tanning and 
weaving, we about exhaust the small catalogue. The men 
do the tanning and the women practise weaving with a very 
simple loom, which stands in front of their apartment. As 
the Arabs manufacture hardly any articles for sale, their 
property is of very limited amount, being almost entirely 
confined to their horses, herds, and camels. Ko &mily can 
exist without one camel at least ; he who possesses ten is 
reckoned poor, thirty or forty places a man in easy circum- 
stances, and the man is rich who is the owner of sixty 
camels. Some sheikhs of the Aenezes have as many as 
300 camels. Horses are comparatively scarce among the 
Bedawin, one mare to six or seven tents is a common 
allowance ; the mare is usually ridden, for the male colts are 
sold to the peasants and townspeople in Syria. Unlike 
civilised nations, the Arabs are not actuated by mere con- 
siderations of what wealth a man possesses in according to 
him honour and influence. A hospitable poor man, who 
kills a lamb for the stranger, gives coffee to those present, 
and shares his plunder among his poor relations, is much 
more esteemed than a rich miser, who neglects his poor 
friends and turns frt)m the stranger; the wealthy sheikh 
lives like his poor neighbour, eats the same dishes, and only 
partakes of a luxury when a guest arrives. 

If the arts are litUe cultivated, it may be supposed that 


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science finds few followers amongst these wild tribes. In 
many tribes not one person can read or write. They haye a 
slight smattering of medical learning, and know accurately 
enough the names of the stars and planets, though of the 
laws by which these are goyemed they are entirely ignorant; 
of poetry and music they are fond, and they haye their 
national songs and dances. Till recent times the Bedawin 
had but little religious belief, but since they became con- 
yerted to the Wahaby faith in the beginning of the century, 
a few priests have been introduced by certain sheikhs, who 
instruct the young to write in some instances. The Wahaby 
religion may be described as a purer Islamism, for the 
founder of the faith, a learned Arabian named Abd-el-Wahab, 
had visited various principal schools of teaching in the East, 
and became convinced that the religion founded by Mahomet 
had become totally corrupt. His efforts were directed to 
reform abuses in the followers of Islam and to disseminate 
the pure faith among tlie Bedawin, who, although nominally 
Mussulmans, were utterly indifferent to religion or its 
obligations. The Koran and the traditions of Mahomet are 
acknowledged to be fundamental, as comprising the laws of 
their faith, and the opinions of the best commentators on 
the Koran are respected. The Wahabys declared that all 
men were equal in the eyes of God, that even the most 
virtuous could not intercede with him, and that it was 
sinful to invoke the aid of departed saints. The Aenezes 
are punctual in their daily prayers, and observe the feast 
of Bamazan with great strictness ; but among our Tawarah 

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and Alawin escorts I saw no instances of prayer being 

Polygamy is rare amongst the Bedawin, bnt few have two 
wives. The marriage ceremony is very simple among the 
Aenezes. When a man desires to marry a girl, he sends a 
friend of the family to her father and the girl's wishes are 
ascertained, for she is not compelled to marry against her 
inclination. If she agrees, the friend, then holding the 
father's hand, says aloud that he understands that he is 
willing to give his daughter in marriage to her suitor, when 
the father answers in the afiBrmative. The wedding-day is 
fixed, and the bridegroom brings a lamb to the tent of the 
girl's father and cuts its throat before witnesses ; as soon as 
the blood falls upon the ground, the marriage ceremony is 
regarded as complete, and the bride is by-and-by conducted 
to her new home. The knot being so easily tied, unfortu- 
nately is loosened without much scruple, for divorces are 
of frequent occurrence. If an Arab becomes dissatisfied 
with his wife, he separates himself by simply saying, * Thou 
art divorced,' and giving her a she-camel, sends her back to 
her family. He is not obliged to state any reasons, nor 
does this reflect particularly on the discarded wife's honour; 
the husband is excused by his friends saying he did not like 
her. There have been instances of Arabs, not more than 
forty-five years of age, who were known to have had above 
fifty different wives ; in fact, whoever will be at the expense 
of a camel may divorce as many wives as he pleases. The 
wife also cp»n iise the privilege of divorce in a somewhat 

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modified form. If she is tmliappj, she can fly for refuge to 
her kindred, and if the husband uses force to induce her to 
return, her &milj would resent this violence. He may 
revenge himself by withholding the words of divorce, so that 
the woman cannot marry again. Of this class there are a 
large number, but old maids are unknown amongst the 
Bedawin. If the husband dies, his brother generally offers 
to many his widow, but neither are forced by custom to 
enter into matrimony. A man has the exclusive right to 
the hand of his cousin, though he is not obliged to marry 
her ; still, without his consent, she cannot accept a husband. 
Women are regarded amongst the Bedawin as inferior to 
men, and, though not neglected, they are always taught to 
consider that their chief business is cooking and working. 
An unmarried girl enjoys much more consideration than a 
married woman ; once married she becomes a mere drudge, 
occupied all day, while her husband is lolling at ease and 
smoking his pipe. The women have to fetch the water, a 
laborious operation often, and the unmarried girls, among 
the Arabs of Sinai, drive the herds to pasture. They watch 
the sheep all day, and if a man of the tribe passes they offer 
him a drink of milk or water. On most occasions, however, 
if a stranger passes, the women turn their backs upon him, 
nor will they receive anything from his hands unless some 
friends be present. The old women are, however, treated 
with great reverence and respect by their children, but the 
relations between fathers and their grown-up sons are often 
very bad. In many tribes slaves perform the more menial 

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offices of the fiunily, and most wealthy sheikhs possess some 
of them. After a lapse of time the slaves are emancipated 
and married to persons of their own colour. 

Hospitality is certainly one of the Bedawin virtues, though 
it ofben proceeds from vanity and a desire of distinguishing 
ihemsdves among their equals in the tribe. A helpless 
traveller may go the whole way between Mecca and Da- 
mascus, and he can safely enough trust to the hospitality of 
tiie wild tribes he may encounter. A hungry Bedawin will 
always divide his scanty meal with a stranger, though he 
may have no means of procuring a fresh supply. When a 
slranger enters an Arab encampment he alights at the first 
tent on his right hand, for if he passed that tent its owner 
would consider himself to be slighted. Among the Arabs of 
Sinai the custom is that the stranger is the guest of the first 
person who descries him from afar. Sometimes serious 
quarrels krise as to who has the right to entertain a visitor ; 
in the absence of the husband, his wife invariably receives 
and entertains strangers, assisted by a male relation, who 
does the honours. Some tribes of the Arabs permit the 
women to drink coffee with strangers on their arrival, pro- 
vided the owner of the tent be present. Amongst those 
tribes who are continually exposed to the passage of 
strangers, it must be confessed that hospitality can only be 
purchased by money, and on the Hfij route little mercy is 
shown to pilgrims in distress. The influx of foreign 
manners has done a good deal towards impairing the ancient 
virtues of the Arabs who live on the borders of Syria. 

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The principles of goyemment among the wandering chil- 
dren of the desert are based upon ancient custom fix)m time 
immemorial, and their ciyil institutions are well adapted to 
their habits and mode of life. Every Arab tribe has its 
chief sheikh, and every camp is headed by its own 
sheikh, or principal man, but he has no actual authority over 
the individuals of his tribe. The real government of the 
Bedawin consists in the separate strength of their different 
families, who, by their own individual weight and influence, 
maintain an even balance in the entire body social of each 
tribe. If a dispute arises between two individuals, the 
sheikh endeavours to settle the matter, but if the relations 
of the parties fail, aided by the sheikh's influence, in making 
peace, then commences war between the whole kindred and 
families of either disputant. The prerogative of the sheikh 
consists in leading his tribe against the enemy, in conducting 
negotiations for peace or war, after consulting with the 
chief men of the tribe, in fixing the spot for encampments, 
and in entertaining distinguished strangers. He derives no 
yearly income from his tribe or camp 5 on the contrary, he is 
obliged to support his title by considerable disbursements ; 
he must maintain the poor and divide his presents amongst 
his friends. He derives a certain income from the tribute 
he exacts from the Syrian villages and his emoluments from 
the Mecca pilgrim caravan. When a sheikh dies he is 
succeeded in his dignity by one of his sons, or his brother, 
or some relation distinguished for valour and liberality, but 
not invariably. Sometimes a stranger to the family may be 

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chosen, and occasionally, daring the lifetime of the sheikh 
he may be deposed from his dignity.. 

There exists in some tribes an official called the hady^ or 
judge, who is selected from men respected for their age, 
intelligence, and loye of justice. They wear no special dress, 
and haye no written code of laws to refer to, but they receive 
considerable fees and emoluments. A still higher judge is 
the meibesshae, of whom there is one in every principal tribe, 
for deciding in cases of great difficulty. The punishments 
inflicted are invariably pecuniary fines, accordiog to the 
nature of the ofiES&nce, and as the amount of these is well 
known and dreaded, this has a wholesome effect upon the 
unruly spirits of a tribe. The laws of inheritance among 
the Arabs are those prescribed by the Koran, and on a man's 
death his property is divided among the male children in 
equal shares. His effects are known to the whole tribe, and 
if he leaves children under age, the next relation takes them 
under his care. 

The law of blood revenge is one terrible peculiarity 
which characterises these strange children of nature. In 
theory it is, that whoever sheds the blood of a man owes 
blood on that account to the family of the deceased. But not 
only is blood claimed from the actual homicide, but from all 
his relations, and this right is never lost ; it descends on 
both sides to the latest generations. Sometimes the feud is 
healed by a certain fixed price of blood being stipulated to 
be paid to the nearest relations of the slain person. In con- 
sequence of a single murder, it is sometimes necessary to 

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remove many hrmdred tents, and the ftigitiyes move from one 
tribe to another for more than fifty years, until at length a 
compromise is made. For those slain in wars between two 
tribes, the price of blood is required from the persons who 
were known to have actually killed them. Appeals are 
sometimes made to the mebesshdef to settle by whom a man 
may have been killed in battle if the accused denies the 

Such are a few outlines of the character and peculiar 
usages of the Arabs of the great Syrian and Arabian deserts, 
which have been almost entirely derived from the compre- 
hensive work of Burckhardt upon the * Bedouins and the 
Wahabys/ It is of course only by long intercourse with the 
tribes whom the traveller comes across, that he learns any 
particulars of their mode of life or is admitted to their 
friendship, and no one hurriedly passing through their 
territories, as we did, can ever expect to see much of the 
mode of life pursued among the Bedawin. Still it is a 
great advantage that we can derive, fi^m the works of some 
distinguished oriental travellers, such fall and interesting 
details as have been gathered together of the manners and 
customs of the nomade tribes of Arabia. 

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We had now been four days doing notliing at Akabah, for 
there is really no way of passing the time profitably there, 
partly from there being hardly any traces of the ancient port 
of Ezion-Gleber to examine, and owing to the great heat which 
prevails it is impossible to walk much daring the day. The 
thehnometer stood at lOS'' in the tent, a degree of heat which 
utterly incapacitates most Europeans from active exertion ; 
lolling about the tent-door, under the shade of some palm 
trees, and watching any movements on the part of the Arabs 
who constantly hovered about our camp, was the most we 
could do. One day we saw the curious practice of impregnat- 
ing the female palm tree, by means of fastening a bunch of 
the male seed to a branch exposed to the wind, which dis- 
seminates it over the blossoms. It is necessary to do this to 
enable the palm tree to bear fruit, but in most places it is found 
sufficient to plant a single male among several female date 
trees. They have a very primitive mode also of obtaining 
water for the camels to drink, simply by scooping some holes 
in the sand close to the sea, and after standing for a little. 

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the water which gathers in them is snffioienti j fresh for drink- 
ing pnrposes. But we grew yeiy tired of our inaction, and were 
rejoiced when at last, abont half-past eight on the morning 
of Friday, March 15, we slowly defiled from the shady palm- 
groves of Akabah. We fonnd our new escort by no means 
so tractable or well up to their work as onr Tawarah friends. 
In &ct Achmet and his two tmsty officials, Ali and the cook, 
did most of the work this morning in the way of striking 
the tents and loading the camels, for our escort were smoking, 
wrangling and shouting, with little regard to onr interests. 

Our party was rather an imposing one as we defiled across 
the plain, and excited some attention on the part of the 
assembled crowd of townspeople who saw us off. Our sheikh 
rode at the head of the cavalcado with his two brothers, 
all armed with long guns and pistols in their belts ; those 
three all wore some article of dress of a red colour, apparently 
signifying their rank. The sheikh's wife and his little boy 
Hassan, of whom he seemed yery fond and proud, also joined 
our party. We were told that there had been no traveller to 
Petra for three years past, so that we may consider ourselves 
fortunate in having been allowed to proceed there. A much 
greater privilege was the fact of our being able to take the 
Eastern route by way of the Wady-el-Ithm, Laborde's route, 
which has been hardly ever traversed by any one since 
his time. A recent matrimonial alliance between Sheikh 
Mohammed's sister and the ruler of the territory of the Wady 
Ithm enabled the former to guarantee us a safe passage. 
After holding along the sloping plateau which extends from 

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Akabah in a north-western direction, we reached in the conrse 
of an hour the entrance of the narrow pass which leads 
to Edom. This is the waj along which the Israelites mnst 
have passed on their waj to Moab, and in ancient times it 
was fhe main approach from Elath to Petra. Stanley and 
all recent travellers took the road np the broad Wady Arabah, 
down which the Israelites came on their return fix>mEadesby 
and which mns in a northerly course until it meets the 
waters of the Dead Sea. Near the entrance of the wady we 
passed a massive stone waU, three yards in thickness, with 
an opening for the winter's torrent to pass through, which is 
supposed to have been erected by the Bedawin as a defence 
against intruders. At mid-day we found that we were nearly 
2,000 feet above the sea level, so steadily and continuously 
had we ascended. On either side of the valley the moun- 
tains rise very precipitously, and the bed of the wady is com- 
posed of granite gravel washed away from the cliffs. Grey 
granite is the prevailing character of rock, streaked some- 
times perpendicularly, but occasionally obliquely and hori- 
zontally, with veins of different-coloured porphyry or basalt. 
These streaks vary in colour from chocolate, red brown, 
and black, and are not often more than 15 or 20 feet 
broad, but they impart a very distinctive character to the 
scenery. The rocks have a peculiar earthy, friable look 
about them, not the glistening, solid, adamantine appear- 
ance of the Sinaitic group. We lunched near a lofty moun- 
tain, Jebel Badry by name, and had to endure the persecution 
of thousands of the common house-flies, so familiar to 

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Europeans, which had followed ns from Akabah, and whom 
we did not shake off for some days. These flies were another 
of the annoyances we suffered at Akabah, which had ahnost 
escaped my memory. 

We continually ascended the Wady Ithm all this day, and 
were struck with its uniformly sterile and desolate nature. 
Though this was once a great highway of commerce, it would 
be found extremely difficult now to convey merchandise over 
its rock-strewn defiles. What pavement may once have 
existed has long since been swept away by the torrents of 
ages, and there are hardly any trees at all to be met with, 
while water is almost unknown. The masses of accimiulated 
debris on both sides of the valley are very regular in their 
formation, in many places looking like a railway embank- 
ment. The sides of the torrent's bed are also singularly 
scarped away, in some places being as perpendicular as a 
wall, and in height at least 25 or 80 feet, thus showing 
the resistless force of the angry torrent. Our camping- 
ground was about 3,000 feet above the sea, an extensive 
undulating plain called Holden Saardeh, with those lofty 
streaked granite mountains on all sides. Somewhere near 
this must be the watershed between the Wady Arabah and 
the interior of Edom. There are many small shrubs and 
prickly acacia trees about this spot, but we saw no water. 
Next morning my camel was found to have strayed away 
during the night, and could nowhere be seen, so I had to 
ride the sheikh's horse for some hours this morning, until I 
got anoiher camel. About 9«80 a.h. we saw upon the 

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mountain side the remains of a rained fort, with a stone waJl 
round it, called by the Arabs El ESialdeh, which, however, 
we did not stop to examine. The vallej hitherto had been of 
the same steep rocky character, bat now it opened out to a 
great plateaa, perhaps four miles across, and sarroonded by 
high mountains streaked with veins of porphyry in a horizon- 
tal direction, much darker and broader than we had hitherto 
seen. Small wadys opened out from the mountains on to this 
plateau, along one of which our road lay. This wady pre- 
sently expanded into a broad level plain, with quantities of 
small shrubs growing about, and also a good many trees 
were to b^ seen. One of these, which has a smooth grey 
trunk and 'Jight feathery branches without leaves, is called 
byi^e Arabp the ghaza tree. The mountains slope upwards 
from the plaii^ but are not nearly so high as those which we 
passed yesterday, and we seem to be leaving the granite 
rangea and returning to the sandstone formation, but the 
broad-coloured sti^eaks are still seen. We continue in the 
Wady-el-Ithmi, which now gets broader and broader, appa- 
rently one uniform l^vel plain of interminable length, for we 
can actually see in i^e:far distance the great range of Mount 
Seir. On our right hfnd, due east, we observe the lofty 
towering peak of Jebel ;Bum, shaped like a vast cone, and 
standing isolated from tl^ mountain chains. Those distant 
mountains ^e in the Wady Hesmeh, or Eed valley, which is 
inhabited by a powerfdl tribe called the Beni Sakhr, who are 
not on good terms witifi the Alawin, and our valorous escort 
were in coiisiderable trepidation for the next day or two. 

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That afternoon we passed the entrance to Wadj Mursad, a 
broad sloping yallej running into Wady Ithm, and it was 
here that I would be inclined to place the watershed. The 
Wadylthm slopes gradually to the east, and the water must 
flow from it to the Wady Hesmeh, instead of south, to the 
Gulf of Akabah. The plain along which we traversed is of 
pure sand, without stones, and quantities of plants and shrubs 
grow in it. One plant is very green, just like very large 
parsley, or rather wild carrot; this the Arabs call hUh 
Saw several wild flowers also, one of them very like the 
* forget-me-not ' in everything except colour. 

Our camping-ground that night was called El Guerrah. It 
is a large isolated mass of sandstone rock, curiously coloured 
with veins of red and brown, almost as if painted by the hand. 
Looking from it across the broad plain, we saw a number of 
singularly-^shaped masses of rock rising out of the level 
surface, like islands in the sea ; also many of the mountains 
are of similar formation, regular layers of rock of different 
colours placed one above another, the other portions being 
grey sandstone. Sheikh Mohammed took his departure from 
us this day, after specially introducing to our flEivourable 
notice another half-brother, who was to see us safe to Hebron. 
His two brothers, who accompanied him from Akabah, also 
left us, so we were considerably shorn of our splendour, and 
our whole escort were a few boys, one or two old men, and the 
brother of the sheikh. The Alawin are a powerful tribe, but 
we certainly were favoured with very poor specimens of them. 
They consist of the following subordinate tribes, so our 

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dragoman informed us : Ley Diarmeth (the sheikh's family 
name), Aboloseban, Lamran, and Lahowetath. They seem to 
keep to their rocky fastnesses, for we did not meet a human 
being all the five days' jonmey between Akabah and Petra, 
except one old man, who encountered us a day's march fix)m 
the latter place. 

We remained over the Sunday at El Guerrah, which is an 
interesting spot to stop at. Our tents were pitched in front 
of the isolated mass of strangely-coloured rock before men- 
tioned, which in many parts has the curiously-carved look 
of the rocks near Hazeroth. The day was very hot, so we 
remained in the tent until the afternoon, when I took a 
walk along the plain. All was very still and lifeless, and 
the great sandy plain, with its islands of rock rising afeir 
off amid the interminable level expanse, suggested solemn 
thoughts of the immutable desolation which reigns around. 
Thus slowly wandering on in tranquil reverie, I was led 
farther away than I intended, and observed at a little dis- 
tance what looked like the extensive ruins of a fortress. Mr. 
Ashton, who had been climbing the rocks at the back of our 
tents, presently came up, he having discovered the same 
object which attracted my attention. We walked to the 
ruins, and first of all came upon a courtyard, or outer hall, 
its four walls of large stones being carefully put together 
without mortar. In height they were barely a yard, and in 
width may have been a yard and a half. The area was all 
round, and measured 100 feet by 70, and this court faced the 
east. At the right-hand comer, on entering from the plain, 


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there was an opening about 12 or 15 feet wide, leading in a 
north-east direction for nearly a hundred yards, as may be 
traced by the remains of its walls. Beyond the outer court, 
whose inner wall was not so wide as the others, intervened 
a vacant space, and then came a quadrangular building, 
apparently once a strong fortress, for we observed distinct 
traces of towers at each angle. The walls, whose remains 
are nearly 20 feet in height, are mere masses of debris, but 
they must have been of great thickness, for some of the stones, 
on whose, sides chisel marks may be detected, are 8 or 4 feet 
long. This building too seems to have been constructed 
without mortar, and though it is now only a vast heap of 
stones, it must have been of great strength originally. Its 
interior may be about 70 feet square, and we examined the 
stones carefully to find any trace of inscription or writing on 
them, but without success. No doubt this temple fortress 
must be of great antiquity, but there is little to indicate the 
epoch at which it was built. 

Next day we encountered a regular sandstorm, which gra- 
dually obscured the face of heaven and filled the air with 
clouds of fine dust, rendering locomotion most unpleasant. 
After marching for two hours, we turned aside to examine a 
rocky mass of red sandstone called Harabah, in which is a 
curious chamber cut in the rock. The entrance is by a steep 
groove chiselled in the rock, with distinct remains of steps 
cut across it, and is partially covered over by a. large slab of 
stone. The slope of the passage is about 7 or 8 feet in 
lengUi, and the chamber measures 30 feet by 18, the bottom 

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being covered with sand. The tipper portion of the rock- 
hewn walls is covered with a coarse surface of plaster, and 
deep pick marks indent the face of the stone. Light is ad- 
mitted by a circular hole in the roof, where the rock is 
between 2 and 3 feet thick. The height of this curious 
chamber is about 6 feet, but ilie sand had evidentlj also 
accumulated to nearly that extent in the interior. Near the 
hole in the roof is a channel half a foot deep, apparently to 
prevent the rainwater from flowing into the chamber, and 
after a course of about 20 feet the water is discharged into 
a small open cistern. On both sides of the entrance to the 
cave are inscriptions of the Sinaitic character, but much 
worn and defaced, the stone being very soft* It is difficult 
to say whether this chamber has been a tomb, a cistern, or 
a hermit's cave, but it is very likely to have been one of the 
dweUings of the Horites. 

I^x>ceeding on our joimiey we were now enveloped in 
clouds of fine dust, with a tremendous wind blowing in our 
faces, until we reached the very extensive remains of 
Eumeiyumeh, or, as Laborde calls it, Ameim^. These ruins 
cover a vast extent of groxmd, and we wandered for more 
than two miles amidst masses of stones. Although the 
remains are very extensive, yet they exhibit no traces of 
architectural splendour, and the dwelling-houses seem to 
have been mainly constructed with a view to storing pro- 
visions and water, judging by the great numbers of cisterns 
everywhere to be met with. This place must haye been a 
great rendezvous or mtrepSt for all the caravans traversing 


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this important commercial route. I came first upon an 
immense tank or pool, about 100 feet long by 60 broad, the 
walls which enclosed it being built of large stones, most 
regularly placed in an unbroken line, 3 feet in height and 
the same in width. Half a mile farther on were the founda- 
tions of a yerj large building, of which the outer wall could 
be distinctly traced. The court which it enclosed was exten- 
sive, about 250 yards across. At the north-west comer was 
a very distinct and complete reservoir for water, which is 
sunk 6 or 8 feet below the level of the ground and regularly 
cemented with mortar. At each comer of the walls is a 
kind of angular niche, partially covered over ; in length this 
cistern is about 96 feet and in breadth about 45 feet. We 
had but little time to examine the extensive masses of stones 
and debris, or the mounds of earth scattered about, which, 
doubtless, covered ancient buildings, forming the ruins of 
this once prosperous city. On leaving the spot we could 
trace for nearly three miles the remains of the ancient 
aqueduct, which keeps exactly to the level of the ground, 
and conveyed the water firom the wells of Gkma to these 
great reservoirs. 

Beyond this, to the west, the ground suddenly sinks in the 
most remarkable and entirely unexpected manner. You are 
traversing a level plain when, all at once, a deep precipitous 
fissure or cliff yawns directly across the path, and conducts to 
still more extensive chasms that run right into the heart of 
the mountains. Those strange ravines or natural cuttings 
seem to lead into scenery of an entirely new character, and I 

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regret exceedingly that we did not attempt to explore some 
of them. I am convinced, judging from the glimpse which 
we could get of those tremendous precipices and gorges, 
that the enterprising explorer would be richly rewarded ; but 
our Arabs were evidently in fear of encountering enemies, 
and would not have listened to a divergence from our 
route. I merely throw out this hint for the guidance of 
future travellers. We now got among a succession of narrow 
valleys, presenting no special feature of interest, and the 
intolerable dust and high wind combined to make our 
journey that afternoon anything but agreeable. We en- 
camped in a wild defile called El Seblehyeh, about 4,200 feet 
above the sea level, and had the utmost difficulty in getting 
our tent pitched. About five o'clock it commenced to blow 
harder than ever, and presently we had pouring rain and a 
great deal of thunder and lightning. Our route next day 
was entirely among the mountains which form the outskirts 
of the ranges round Petra, and which are of an entirely 
different character from those we have hitherto encountered. 
They are not lofty or precipitous, their round sides are well 
clothed with soil and grass in many parts. Many shrubs are 
to be seen, and there can. be little doubt that formerly 
abundant pasture was found here. We passed a very old 
well called Beer Hammad, with water in it at a depth of 20 
feet from the uppermost stones of the walls. Many of the 
stones have fallen in, and on some of the larger ones we 
observed deep grooves made by the old ropes working up 
and down ages ago. There are some Sinaitic inscriptions 

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on a large stone near the top, bnt of a very rude character. 
We found a charming spot for Innch in Wady Hammad, a 
bank of green grass, with a clear spring of water welling on 
to the tnrf, which more nearly approaches in character the 
sofb sward of England than any we have yet seen. It was 
quite delightfol to lie and loll upon the grass, enjoying the 
sunshine, which was now considerably tempered by the cool 
breezes that play about these mountain sides. There are 
many remains of cultivation in the soil near this well, as 
though the Arabs had apparently taken advantage of the 
water for irrigating purposes. In some places we came upon 
remains of buildings, but so utterly ruinous that there was 
no making out what they were. 

That afternoon we began to ascend rapidly a part of the 
great range of Seir, and as we mounted higher and higher 
it grew very cold. At four o'clock we gained the extreme 
ridge of the mountain which we had been ascending, and a 
grand view burst upon our sight. In front were the remark- 
able serrated rugged rocks which surround Petra, while to 
the west there was a most extensive view of the vast plain of 
Arabah on our left, while, Cm: beyond, lay the desert of Tlh 
and the wilderness of sand which stretches to the Medi- 
terranean. In the immediate foreground is the singular 
plateau of rocks, of every variety of colour, intersected by 
deep chasm-like gorges, which run into the mountains within 
whose hollow recesses is situated the rock-hewn capital of 
Edom. A wonderful agglomeration of ravines and cli& it 
is, and it seems incredible that a great commercial city 

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could once have flourished in such a terrific solitude. From 
our commanding altitude, between 6,000 and 7,000 feet 
above the sea, we looked right down upon this rocky con- 
figuration. But the most striking feature was the great 
double peak of Mount Hor, the sacred mountain where the 
High Priest of the Israelites was gathered to his fathers, and 
the theatre of such stirring scenes as were here enacted. 
Its identity is well authenticated, and it forms a most con- 
spicuous landmark firom the plains surrounding the range of 
Mount Seir. On our right is the immense plain of Arabia 
Petreea, a gently undniating expanse of sand, reaching 
almost to the distant Euphrates. What a majestic history 
gathers round these tremendous rocks, how many powerful 
nations have dwelt amidst their secret defiles, what riches 
have been poured into the long-deserted city which now 
gives shelter only to the owl, the raven, and the hyaena I 

Though the Arabah and wilderness beyond were enveloped 
in a dim blue haze, and the golden sunshine still lingered 
upon the loffcy summit of Mount Hor, a cold wind blew 
round the peaks which we were now crossing, all the more 
chilling after the great heat of the last few days. We now 
descended rapidly, passing a large tank or reservoir, 45 feet 
square and 12 feet deep, constructed of very massive stones, 
into which a beautiful pure stream of water emptied itself. 
Quantities of maiden-hair fern grew upon the walls and 
a few trees were scattered about. We were glad to reach 
the shelter of our tent, pitched at a spot called Bais 
amidst masses of ruined walls, and to get out of the cutting 

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blast which whistled amidst the rocks. The thermometer 
stood at 52^ ia the tent, rather a contrast to the temperature 
of Akabah. Next morning we made an early starts and it 
was the most disagreeable weather we had yet encountered. 
A thick raw mist, as moist and chilling as any that I had 
ever experienced in Scotland, enveloped everything in a damp 
shroud of vapour, which entirely concealed all the noble 
features of the strange scenery through which we passed. 
We need not have been so expeditious in our movements, 
but were anxious to get as early as possible to Petra, before 
the news of our arrival had spread amongst the Fellaheen. 
The poor little boys, barefooted and miserably clad, trudged 
uncomplainingly along at our side, and Achmet sat silent 
on his dromedary, muffled up in a thick fur-lined cloak 
which he had purchased at Cairo. After a while, however, 
the welcome sun's rays began to light up the distant desert 
of Edom, and as the sunshine brought out still more of the 
deep gloomy defiles and av^l crags round Petra, while part 
was still shrouded in mist, the effect was remarkably fine. 
We kept along the high ridges overlooking this strange rocky 
table-land, and which gradually slope downwards till they 
meet the platform of rocks. The soil covering them is well 
clothed with grass and shrubs, and occasionally trees of the 
cedar tribe are met vrith. The rocks below are of a bright 
red colour, with streaks of orange and green sometimes 
running across them, while the deep clefts before mentioned 
seamed their surface in all directions. We frequently 
passed fertile patches of cultivated ground, terraced with rough 

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stone walls, and covered with grain more than a foot high. 
In some places there were springs of water, which are used 
for irrigating purposes by the owners of the jBelds. No 
doubt, in ancient times all these mountain slopes and 
sheltered valleys below were richly cultivated, but the curse 
of the prophet Ezekiel still seems to cling to the spot. Still 
keeping to the high ground, we at last, about ten a.m., saw 
below us the entrance to the far-famed Wady MAsa, the Arab 
name for Petra, whUe far up on a mountain side, a long way 
oflf, we descried the black tents of an extensive encampment 
of Bedawin, from whom we might earnestly hope to be 
delivered. On our extreme rights at the upper end of the 
Wady Musa, is the village of Eljy, substantially enough 
built of stone and surrounded by fertile fields of grain. We 
are thus within half an hour of Petra, which we have come 
so far to see, and a few words as to its history may not be 
out of place. 

Arabia Petraea is one of the three great divisions of 
Arabia, and is bounded on the north by Judsea, on the south 
by the Eed Sea, and on the west by Egypt ; its appellation 
* rocky' is derived from the geological character of the 
country. The Greek authors knew little about it. Diodorus 
mentions that it is a territory of rocks, with few springs, and 
almost inaccessible to the outer world. Pliny and Strabo 
both allude to it, the former stating that the 'Nabateei 
inhabit a city called Petra, in a hollow somewhat less than 
two miles in circumference, surrounded by inaccessible 
mountains, with a stream running through it. It is distant 

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firom the town of Gaza, on the coast, 600 miles.' Strabo speaks 
in similar terms regarding it, mentioning that it is fortified 
with a barrier of rocks, has excellent springs of water, and 
that outside the city the country is desert. There is little 
doubt that it was the Idumea of the ancients, the Edom of the 
Bible, where it is often also styled Mount Seir, or ^ Bugged.' 
Edom is continually mentioned in the books of Moses, and 
very minute descriptions are there given of its inhabitants, 
their manners, territories, and power. Its first inhabitants 
were the Horites, * Dwellers in caves,' who were driven out 
by Esau. King David conquered Edom, and Solomon built 
his fleet at its port, Ezion-Geber. Subsequently the Edom- 
ites regained their independence, but were again subdued 
by the Maccabees. After this the Nabatheans established 
themselves in Edom in the third century B.C., and the 
country afterwards became known as Arabia Petrsea. The 
Nabatheans were an Arab tribe descended from Nebaioth^ 
Ishmael's eldest son, and were a commercial people, carry- 
ing the products of India and Arabia across the territory 
of Sinai to the Mediterranean. The caravans all centred at 
Petra, from whence again the trade branched out to Egypt, 
Palestine, and Syria. Petra was a place of great strength 
in the time of the Bomans, by whom the country was 
finally subdued, a.d. 105. Pompey marched against it, but 
desisted from the attack, and Trajan afterwards besieged it. 
Many Bomans settled there, and no doubt changed greatly the 
customs and usages of the inhabitants. Josephus has many 
notices of Arabia Petrsea and its rulers. Antigonus, one 

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of Alexander's successors, after reducing Syria and Palestine, 
sent an expedition against Petra, and succeeded in sur- 
prising the city, but was himself afterwards driven out with 
great loss. To the period of the Eoman occupation we owe 
the magnificent monuments of Petira, which were the results 
of the accumulation of wealth that its great trade brought to 
the city. Christianity spread as far as this remote city, which 
was established as the metropolitan see of Palestina Tertia. 
For some time after the kingdom of the Nabatheans became 
a Boman province it preserved its splendour, but by degrees 
its trade fell off, and the glories of the capital inevitably 
decayed. The trade of the Persian Gulf forsook the Bed Sea 
and began to follow the course of the Euphrates to Palmyra, 
which in time became so magnificent a city. Alexandria had 
become also a great centre of commerce between the East 
and the West, the ports of Berenice and Coptos on the Bed 
Sea received the merchandise of India, from whence it was 
conveyed by caravans to the Nile. Altogether, by the time 
of the seventh century Petra is scarcely mentioned by the 
Arabian authors as amongst the conquests of the Mahom- 
medans. For a very brief period the crusaders held posses- 
sion of Edom, in whose fastnesses they built one or two 
fortresses, which gave them the command of the caravan 
route from Damascus to Mecca. The Saracens, however, 
made vigorous efforts to dislodge the invaders, and ere long 
had subdued the whole region with its strongholds. From 
this time it disappears from notice, having gradually come 
under the sway of the wandering tribes who now hang about 

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the outskirts of Wodj Musa, and whom the traveller will 
find a most troublesome, rapacious set of Arabs, little better 
than savages. 

To Burckhardt belongs the honour of being the first 
traveller in modem times who penetrated to the long-lost 
city, with its wealth of noble monuments. He had heard 
of the reports, collected by Seetzen in 1807, of extensive 
monumental remains existing in the rocky fastnesses of 
Edom, and he encountered considerable risks in penetrating 
to the ruins of Petra. He assumed the name of Sheikh 
Ibrahim, and, dressed as a poor 'Arab, made his way from 
Damascus across the desert to the Dead Sea, and thence pene- 
trated by the mountains of Edom to the village of Eljy, and 
on August 22, 1812, entered Petra by the wonderful gorge 
called the Sik. Burckhardt passed through Eljy, accom- 
panied by his guide, who carried the goat which the tra- 
veller intended to sacrifice on Mount Hor in honour of 
Aaron. He describes the town as surrounded with vineyards 
and firuit trees, the grapes being especially fine, and are sold 
by the inhabitants in quantities to the Arabs. Traces of an 
ancient city were observed by Burckhardt from the large 
stones scattered about, showing that its fine natural situation 
had attracted the former inhabitants of Wady Musa. He 
was pressed by his guide to sacrifice the goat at a spot up 
the mountain side from whence Mount Hor is visible, this 
being the place where all the Bedawin oflfer their oblations, 
thinking it quite sufficient to be within sight of the High 
Priest's tomb. It being his object, however, to pass through 

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the ruins of Petra, he said that he had vowed to kill the 
animal at the very tomb itself, and so gained his point* He 
knew that his guide was watching him with suspicion, 
thinking that he might be in search of treasures which the 
Arabs believe to be hidden in the celebrated Khuzneh, the 
most beautiful temple in Petra. It is most remarkable how 
he managed to bring away so accurate a description of the 
ruins, considering that he never ventured to take a single 
note in presence of his guide. After reaching the plain at 
the foot of the mountain, the goat was hurriedly sacrificed, it 
being too late to ascend to the tomb itself. 

Now that the Arabs have become used to the industrious 
researches of modem travellers, Petra has been thoroughly 
examined, the most beautiful temples and tombs painted and 
photographed, and the ruins carefully planned and de- 
scribed. The next travellers who succeeded in penetrating 
to the famous city were Messrs. Banks, Legh, Irby and 
Mangles, who, after much opposition, entered it in 1818, 
and published an accurate account of what they saw. Ten 
years afterwards, in March 1828, M. L^on de Laborde and 
M. Linant entered Petra by the Wady Arabah, passing Mount 
Hor, and traversing the route by which we left the ruins. 
Laborde travelled in great state and had a large escort of 
Arabs, so that they were able to bring away a number of beau- 
tiful sketches and an accurate plan of the ruins. He it was 
who first visited the noble rock-hewn temple, called El Deir, 
which, however, Irby and Mangles had seen from the summit 
of Mount Hor, though they were unable to reach it on 

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account of its inaccessible position, remote from the ruins of 
the city. Laborde's elaborate work is well. known, and his 
drawings, as well as those of Bartlett and Boberts, give an 
admirable representation of those wonderful monuments. 
Miss Martineau, Dr. Bobinson, Dean Stanley, and many 
others have visited and published their accounts of Petra, 
and they all appear to have entered the city from the west, 
but I would strongly recommend future travellers to take 
our route from Akabah by the Wady Ithm, and make their 
entrance by the Sik valley. The e£fects of its astonishing 
rocks rising up hundreds of feet from a narrow cleft, hardly 
half a dozen yards across in many places, the magical colour- 
ing and fantastic forms of the perpendicular sides, the sub* 
dued light in this deep ravine ; above all, the extraordinary 
beauty of the famous Ehuzneh, which bursts upon your gaze 
at the eastern end of the Sik, produce an irresistible im- 
pression upon the mind of the traveller. 

Many attempts have been made to connect Petra with 
Kadesh, where the Israelites abode some days, and from 
whence the spies went to examine the Promised Land. It 
was a very important resting-place of the host of Israel ; for 
there occurred the rebellion of Eorah, the angry demand of 
the people for water, and Miriam and Aaron both died in 
this place. They had wandered from Sinai over the desert of 
the Tih, or ^ wilderness of Paran,' thence descended into the 
Arabah, or ^ wilderness of Zin,' and upon the reftisal of the 
King of Edom to allow them to pass through his territory, 
they proceeded to Ezion-Greber, and so circumvented the 

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kingdom of Edom and entered Moab. Stanley inclines to 
the belief that Kadesh, * the holy place/ and Petra are iden- 
tical ; but Dr. Robinson fixes upon Ain-el-Weibeh, in the 
Arabah, more than two days' journey out of Petra, as the 
site of this important station of the Children of Israel. As 
to this and many other questions which wiU occur to the 
traveller who visits Petra, I must refer to the exhaustive 
works of Laborde, Bobinson, Irby and 1/tangles, Stanley, and 
others. Our stay was far too hurried and disturbed to permit 
of a proper examination into the marvellous ruins ; all that I 
can attempt to give is a mere sketch of the more prominent 
features which they present. Whether the great monuments 
are temples or tombs, how old they are, and by whom they 
were constructed, to what architecture some of the decorations 
belong, and many other questions, can only be solved by a 
lengthened stay amidst these extraordinary remains. Egypt 
and India contain specimens of structures wrought out of 
the solid rock, after the fashion of those at Petra. But how 
this great commercial centre of trade came to be adorned 
in so magnificent a style may well excite surprise, as indeed 
does the fact of such a shut in, inaccessible spot being fixed 
upon for the capital of a trading country. 

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208 *HE ALPS OF A11A15IA 



The chief entrance to Petra in the days of its glory was by 
the remarkable gorge called the Sik. Wady Musa is formed 
by the junction of two valleys, which unite below Eljy. At 
first it is broad, and its sloping banks are cultivated by the 
aid of the stream which runs along the valley, until it enters 
the dark ravine between precipitous cliffs. We were all im- 
patience to proceed to the ruins of the city, but our dragoman 
assured us that without the sheikh, or some one representing 
him, it would be folly to attempt to go. We were therefore 
obliged to content ourselves, in the meantime, with examin- 
ing a tomb of some size in the valley, a little distance from 
the opening of the Sik. In front of the &.9ade of the tomb, 
which has pilasters at the angles and a door in the centre, 
is a court, hewn in the rock. Two porticoes with Doric 
columns, all hewn in the rock, are seen on each side of the 
court, whose entrance is screened by a stone wall. The 
interior of the tomb itself is about 45 feet in length, but 
there are no sculptures or decorations to be seen. After ex- 
amining this, we were thankful to see the sheikh, accom- 

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PETRA 209 

panied bj two men, all well armed with lances, guns, and 
swords, ride up and salute us with much cordiality. It was 
now about eleven o'clock, and we were anxious to make the 
most of our time, so at once started for the city. 

The lower part of Wady Musa, where it joins the Sik, has 
numerous fa9ades and doorways cut in the rocks, ornamented 
in various ways with pilasters, mouldings, and remains of 
friezes. We noticed three pyramidal monuments on the 
right, apparently solid masses of rock, about 16 feet square 
at the base. On the left is another singular monument with 
a number of pillars in the fa9ade, the lower tier of Ionic 
architecture, and the whole surmounted in a recess by four 
slender and tall pyramids. A doorway, decorated with 
flowers and triglyphs over the entablature, admits to a 
chamber of moderate size. A little farther on we saw the 
remains of that triumphal arch, springing from one side of 
the chasm to the other, at a great height above our heads, 
which has so impressed all travellers with admiration. Its 
inaccessible situation makes it difficult to examine this 
remarkable bridge thus reared aloft by some fairy hand. 
But we were now far more impressed with the extraordinary 
character of the defile, along whose depths we slowly wound 
our way. In vndth only a few yards, the sides of the gorge 
are vast precipices of strangely- tinted rock, which constantly 
overlap the passage below, and shut out the light of the sun. 
Sometimes the lower tier of dark rocks will be succeeded by 
higher ranges of red cliffs, of fantastic and jagged outline, 
whose dizzy heights are hung with all manner of bright 


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green streaming caper plants, luxnrious fig trees, feathery 
tamarisks, and other bushes. All of a sudden, the overarch- 
ing cliffs will part just sufficiently to disclose a streak of 
intensely blue sky, and more rocky altitudes bathed in the 
glowing sunshine, which never penetrates the awftd gloom 
below. The bed of this defile is the course of the stream, 
and in many places it is almost choked up with the masses 
of laurels and oleanders, whose beautiftd crimson flowers 
delight the eye. In many parts of the ravine we observed 
traces of the pavement, with which, when Petra was in its 
glory, this almost subterraneous passage was covered. The 
floods have nearly swept away the square paving-stones, but 
enough remains to show the care with which the work was 
performed. You see also the small aqueduct for supplying 
the city with water from the stream below Eljy, remains of 
which can be traced at intervals on the sides of the defile. 
The channel, which is sometimes a deep groove cut in the 
rock, at other times a conduit of earthen pipes joined to- 
gether with mortar, is seen some 20 or 30 feet above the bed 
of the stream. Many tombs and niches cut in the rock are 
passed, but they are mostly small and very much defaced, 
hardly any feature being traceable except a mouldering pillar 
or cornice. 

But the astonishing feature of the whole is the remark- 
able colouring of the rocks in many places. The stone is 
exceedingly friable, often crumbling away like sand when 
touched, but its brilliant colouring baffles description. Side 
by side, on the sloping face of a rock, will be seen crimson. 

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PETBA 211 

yellow, blue, purple, white, and green, in regular streaks 
like ribbons, and these brilliant hues chiefly appear where 
the rock is not exposed to the weather. Then the cliffs are 
grooved, fissured, and rent in all directions, and wherever a 
foothold is found for their roots, there are seen creepers and 
flowering plants, giving a richly-clothed aspect to certain 
portions of the gorge. The valley twists and turns abruptly 
in many places, affording glimpses of the still higher range 
of mountains which rise above it, and admitting a flood of 
warm sunshine which finely contrasts with the succeeding 
gloom. Bitterly did I regret that we had no time to stop 
and examine at leisure this marvellous passage, but we heard 
behind us the clattering of the horses*. feet of the sheikh and 
his followers echoing in those silent depths, and ^ew that 
.a host of the Fellaheen from Eljy would soon be after them. 
This valley continues for more than a mile to present these 
remarkable features, and then, all at once emerging from its 
terrific jaws, you stand transfixed before the loveliest monu- 
ment of Petra, the beautiftd Khuzneh, or * Treasury of 
Pharaoh' as the Arabs call it 'lFT)ursts upon you with 
magical effect, so unique is its situation, so remarkable its 
surroundings, and so fairy-like the blushing tints of the 
rocks out of which the monument is hewn. As seen by us 
in the rays of the morning sun, its whole facade suffused 
with a flood of radiance, bringing out the pale rose colour of 
the rock, the temple seemed the emanation of some mighty 
magician's wand, which would ere long vanish away, leaving 
the bare face of the cliff. At first sight the beholder is over- 

p 2 

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whelmed with the exquisite finish and elegance of every detail 
on whose delicate tracery time has lightly laid its touch. 
There is nothing in the world like it, when its perfect condi- 
tion, isolated situation, and matchless colouring are all taken 
Vinto account. The monument is sculptured out of the sand- 
stone clifiF, which has been all excavated for a considerable 
space on either side of the temple, so as to allow its propor- 
tions to be fully seen. High above its crowning urn, within 
whose stony recesses the Arabs believe countless treasures 
are concealed, the naked face of the cliff towers up for some 
200 feet. The monument consists of two stories, the lower 
portion being a colonnade of four Corinthian columns, about 
3 feet in diameter and 35 feet in height; one of the 
centre pillars, however, has fallen, it, like its fellow, not 
being cut out of the rock, but built of several pieces of stone. 
There are two pilasters at the extremities of the temple, hewn 
out of the rock, as is the whole fa9ade. The architecture of 
the portico is sculptured with a Meze and vases, connected 
with festoons and wreaths. Between the outermost pillar 
and the pilasters may be distinguished the remains of figures, 
once standing in high relief, but now almost entirely worn 
away. Above the portico is a pediment, having in the centre 
a beautiful cylindrical monument standing by itself, adorned 
with delicate Corinthian columns and rich capitals in perfect 
preservation, and a dome and urn at the t^op of all, in which 
are the supposed hidden treasures. On either side of this 
circular monument is an intervening space, and then succeed 
two pillars^ similar to those in the portico below, also sup- 

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PETRA 213 

porting a ricUj sculptured cornice. Three pedestals resting 
on the flat surface of the portico, having one of these pillars 
on each side, once supported statues, but these are much 
mutilated, probably by the Arabs, who have a special anti- 
pathy to all representations of the human form. They seemed 
to have considered that Pharaoh founded this city and its 
most splendid monuments, and that in the urn at the summit 
of this noble temple the treasures of the mighty king rest 
undisturbed. This hidden treasure is 120 feet above the 
heads of the wandering Arabs, who in revenge fire off their 
guns loaded with ball at the urn, in hopes of breaking off a 
portion or bringing it bodily down. 

In the body of the building are three chambers, one large 
hall entering by a door under the portico, which has rough 
unadorned walls and ceilings. Two lateral chambers enter 
from either end of the portico, in one of which are two 
hollows, possibly intended as receptacles for coffins, f All the 
finely-chiselled details of the decorations are strangely fresh, 
and the only portions injured are the figures and the column 
which has fallen. It is difficult to determine how old the 
monument is, whether it was a tomb or a temple, and to 
whom it was dedicated. Still, no description can give an 
idea of its unearthly beauty, with its setting of great rocky 
precipices on all sides, hung with bright green shrubs and 
creepers, all around being silent as the grave. Long did we 
linger, drinking in the beauty of its rosy-tinted fa9ade,* with 
several Arabs looking wonderingly at us. They never deign to 
glance at those noble ruins, of whose object they are utterly 

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ignorant. Yet again, during our brief and unsatisfactory 
stay, did I return to take a last look at the exquisite temple, 
and felt grieved to think that I should see it no more. 

The valley in which we now found ourselves leads at right 
angles with the Sik, straight into the centre of the city, 
past the theatre and principal I'ange of tomb temples near 
it. Along its bed the stream flows, fringed with oleanders 
and laurels, and the ravine presently expands considerably. 
Bed is still the prevailing hue of the rocks, which rise up in 
jagged irregular masses, and out of the face of the sloping 
mountain side the theatre is^hewn in the rock. The arena 
is 120 feet in diameter, and there are thirty-three tiers of 
seats rising in a slope one above another, capable of contain- 
ing over 8,000 persons. The stage is built, not excavated ; 
and only the bases of three short columns remain on its 
inner face. Seated on one of the uppermost tiers, you com- 
mand a view over a great portion of the city and tombs. In 
front is the narrow valley with its oleander-fringed streamlet, 
murmuring unseen amidst fallen capitals; beyond it is a 
rocky terrace, in which are excavated some of the smaller 
tombs, while above this again rise up the noble range of 
red sandstone cliffs, extending for more than two miles, and 
presenting to view a series of pillared temples, Corinthian 
fa5ades with lofty elevations, deep doorways and windows, 
adorned with friezes and sculptured mouldings, one after 
another in endless perspective, until a distant bend in the 
mountain side closes in the view. Turning to the left, you 
gaze over the wide area of mounds of earth, strewn with an 

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PETRA 215 

occasioDal capital or fragment of column, whicli once was 
the site of the city itself, and the bed of the stream may be 
traced by the portions of massive masonry which at inter- 
vals line its banks. Of all the majestic buildings that 
formerly crowned this now deserted waste, hardly any trace 
remains, save the ruins of two temples, fragments of a 
trimnphal arch, and the walls of * Pharaoh's Palace.' 

Complete indeed is the destruction which has overtaken 
this great and prosperous city, into whose lap was poured 
all the rich treasures of Arabia, the spices and silks from 
the vast continent of India. Sitting here towards evening, 
when the declining rays of the sun just fell upon the upper- 
most range of tombs, gilding these habitations of the dead 
with a momentary splendour, the mind might well revert to 
the scene as it may have appeared more than 2,000 years 
ago. The gay crowds who thronged the tiers of seats, filling 
the air with their applause as some * well-graced actor' 
appeared on the scene ; the long-drawn cavalcade of camels, 
horses, and their warlike attendants which, perchance, at 
the moment was defiling past the theatre on their way from 
far-distant Damascus ; the busy hum of the neighbouring 
city, whose rich inhabitants filled the noisy mart, or congre- 
gated in groups along the broad quays bordering the stream 
the dignified forms of the priests, clad in gorgeous vest- 
ments, who oflFered up incense and * strange worship ' before 
their rock-hewn fanes — all the various spirit-stirring sights 
which a great capital in the heyday of its prosperity would 
exhibit, might pass before the mind's eye in the solitary 

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reverie amidst the tenantless tombs and fallen temples of 
this eitj of the dead! 

But I must not linger longer in this fascinating spot, for 
we have a great extent of ground to get over before night, 
and already the neighbouring Arabs were beginning to come 
in, one by one, to see what could be got out of us. From 
this point we l)roceeded to examine the principal range of 
tombs hewn in the eastern cliflfs, opposite to the theatre. 
The greater portion of them are Grecian in character, though 
in a few there are distinct traces of Egyptian architecture. 
Generally a dooi'way, with pilasters on either side, admits 
into a large chamber in which, in some instances, we observed 
oblong pits, as if for the reception of dead bodies. Some- 
times, in the side walls of the chamber, there would be deep 
recesses, which may have contained sarcophagi, and stone 
divans or steps, 1 or 2 feet in height, would run round the 
wall. In one or two tombs I observed an arched recess 
opposite the door, as if an altar once stood there ; but, 
generally, the whole interior was absolutely plain and un- 
marked. Occasionally, a small lateral chamber would enter 
from the main one, and in one or two of the larger monu- 
ments several side rooms were observed by us. In very few 
of them were there columns to support the roof, and the 
absence of plaster or painting distinguished their interiors 
from the tombs of Egypt. One noticeable feature is the 
dissimilarity of all the tombs both in size and ornaments, 
and, taken as a whole, their style of architecture is peculiar 
to Petra. A favourite style of decoration is two small flights 

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PETRA 217 

of steps, cut in the rock, springing from the pilasters on 
each side of the doorway, and meeting a few yards above the 
door. Many tombs take a pyramidal form, in which case 
they are small in size, with a very low doorway, and devoid 
of ornament. In most of the interior chambers the vivid 
colouring to which I have before alluded is to be seen, 
regular streaks of well-defined bright tints, varying from 
scarlet to pale yellow. The rock is excessively friable in many 
places, and I tried in vain to break off from the interior of 
one specially brilliant-hued tomb a -good specimen of the 
gradations of colour ; outside, where the stone is exposed to 
the sun and rain, it is hard enough, but still many of the 
pilasters and friezes surmounting the doorways are much 
decayed and crumbled, leaving few traces of their original 
design. In numerous instances, too, green creeping plants 
and mosses have found a foothold in the crevices of the 
sculptured fe^ade, and clothe with verdure these monuments 
of the dead. 

The tomb which will first strike the traveller's attention as 
his eye ranges along this marvellous array of sepulchres is 
one in the cliff on his right, a few hundred yards beyond the 
theatre. A raised platform, about 1 5 feet in breadth, sup- 
ported upon hollow arched terraces, elevates the structure 
above the banks of the stream. At either end of the plat- 
form are small open porticoes in the excavated cliff, supported 
by columns. The fa9ade of the tomb is lofty, consisting of 
four Doric columns, attached to and cut out of the rock, and 
the pediment is crowned by an urn. A doorway admits to a 

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lofty chamber with three recesses at one end, where in all 
probability altars once stood, and an inscription has been 
discovered, painted on the wall, giving the date of the 
consecration of the building as a Christian church. Besides 
a small window over the door, there are three others higher 
up, but there is little external decoration on the fa9ade. 
Succeeding this tomb is another one, generally known as the 
* Corinthian Tomb,' which, in its upper part, has a considerable 
resemblance to the Khuzneh. There is the same second story, 
and a cylindrical monument adorned with piUars and crowned 
by an urn, while each side has a pillared structure with en- 
tablature and pediment. A great part of the lower story 
has fallen away, as the tomb is in a somewhat exposed 
situation, and tufts of grass and shrubs have overspread 
a considerable portion of its surface. Fragments of eight 
columns, a doorway and windows, give a good idea of what 
the whole monument may once have appeared, and the 
chambers within are spacious. There are six recesses oflF 
the largest chamber, of irregular size and construction. 

Immediately adjoining the * Corinthian tomb * is a very large 
and splendid monument, which is indeed the most conspi- 
cuous one of the entire range, as seen from a distance. It 
is abroad fa9ade of three distinct ranges of columns, erected 
one above another, but more than one-half of the uppermost 
pillars have perished, apparently from a fall of the rock out 
of which they were hewn. To one entering the city from 
the west, when this temple was in its perfection, it must 
have presented a noble appearance, for it is grand even in its 

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PETBA 219 

decay, and its lofty fia^ade was the chief object which at- 
tracted my lingering gaze, as we for the last time surveyed, 
from a long way oflF, the ruins of Petra. There seemed to 
haye been four separate entrances, flanked with pilasters, 
leading into large chambers, in one of which are four recep- 
tacles for the dead, as well as some remains of stucco orna- 
ments. AboTC the plain pediment, at an interval of a few 
feet, is seen a second tier of eighteen Ionic columns, which, 
like those below, are not detached from the rock ; the capi- 
tals of some of them, however, are sepamte pieces of stone 
fastened to the surface of the cliff. In the vicinity of these 
three monuments, the bold precipice out of which they are 
excavated, rises up in masses of rock, irregular in height and 
form. Sometimes there are sharp peaks, down whose sides 
creepers, flowering plants, and ferns stream in the wind, and 
in other places only a small ledge of rock extends between 
the edge of the cliff and the tomb below. Between each of 
the more prominent tombs there is an intervening space of 
unhewn rock, and though the base of the cliffs forms a 
continuous terrace, still it is often interrupted by some plat- 
form of masonry or natural fall in the ground. 

The circling range of cliffs takes a bend inwards after you 
pass the monument last described, and I only made a very 
hurried visit to several of the tombs in this direction. Many 
of them are no better than a shapeless cavern in the rock, 
so completely have the ornaments and pillars been destroyed 
through time and the winter's storms. In front of these 
the gravelly soil slopes gradually towards the stream, beyond 

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which again are mounds of earth and undulations in the 
ground, covered with remains of columns, capitals, fragments 
of stone pavement, and similar evidences of a large city. 
There is no extensive flat surface remaining in the natural 
basin which, hemmed in by mountains on all sides, consti- 
tutes the area of the actual city of Petra, and it is diffi- 
cult to define what its actual limits were. The stream 
which passes through Wady Musa and the Sik flows in a 
northerly direction, past the theatre and principal tombs, 
and then turns to the west, almost intersecting the site of 
the city. It is joined midway across the broad ravine or 
basin, as it may be better styled, by the dry bed of another 
stream, along whose banks also can be seen the ruins of 
two bridges, besides other remains. A considerable accumu- 
lation of stones, fallen pillars and debris line both sides of 
the main stream, and its banks had been strongly built up 
with massive blocks to withstand the rush of water. In one 
place there is a vaulted covering over the bed of the stream, 
with a substantial pavement beyond, and as you approach 
the building called ^ Pharaoh's Palace * the principal ruins 
are seen. 

Proceeding along the left bank of the stream, and passing 
the prostrate walls and columns of a nameless temple, you 
come upon traces of an ancient paved way, leading past the 
ruins of a triumphal arch, which, judging from the pilasters, 
bas-reliefs and other fragments scattered about, must have 
been of an ornate description. Beyond this is the largest 
building of the ancient city, whose outer walls are still 

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PETRA 221 

standing, though the ornaments in stucco and stone which 
once adorned it have crumbled away. * Pharaoh's Palace/ 
as it is called, is a building of solid construction, its massive 
side walls, nearly 50 feet high, standing erect amidst the 
extensive heaps of debris all around. A cornice and frieze 
in fair preservation relieve the baldness of the lofty walls, 
and, from certain positions, the view of the palace and 
the great precipitous cliffs behind, pierced with numerous 
small excavations for dwellings or tombs, is very striking. 
Great quantities of displaced stones lie about amidst bushes 
and flowering shrubs, which have found a resting-place 
where all is desolation and silence. It is really difficult to 
make one's way through the wilderness of ruins, in which 
a solitary column is seen standing, when its fellows have 
long since crumbled into dust. Nothing can exceed the 
feeling of dreariness and isolation which overwhelms the 
spectator who thus threads his way among such material 
traces of fallen greatness, while, to give additional sadness 
to the picture, on lifting his eyes he sees afar off the count- 
less sepulchres of the dead. 

But the reader must not suppose that we were so fortu- 
nate as to enjoy an unmolested examination of the monu- 
ments above described. We were followed to our encamp- 
ment, which we fixed in front of the cliffs, not far from the 
* Corinthian Tomb,' by several of the Fellaheen from Eljy, 
who forthwith attached themselves to our dragoman, making 
his tent their head-quarters. But while giving most of 
their attention to the tobacco, coffee and other stores which 

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he had to produce in their honour, they kept a look-out 
upon our movements. Probably the idea that all travellers 
are in search of treasures concealed amidst the ruins, with 
which Burckhardt found the Arabs strongly possessed, makes 
the ever-watchful guardians of Petra keep a sharp eye 
upon the motions of their visitors. At any rate, as long as 
we were busily engaged in examining all the monumental 
remains and tombs in the vicinity of our encampment, we. 
were left to our own devices. But upon proceeding along 
the banks of the stream towards Pharaoh's Palace, we ob- 
served that we were followed by three savage-looking Arabs, 
well armed with pistols and knives, who very soon came up 
to us and would not be shaken oflF. They thenceforth kept 
up a constant series of remarks addressed to us, varied by 
conversation in a lower tone amongst themselves. Of this, 
as may be supposed, not one word was intelligible to us, and 
the sight of their villanous countenances made one indis- 
posed to wander too far away into the caverns and ravines 
in the cliffs before us which we would like to have explored. 
We could not tell how many more of their number might be 
following us, and Achmet had given us warning of the very 
bad repute in which these Petra Fellaheen are held. Then 
they kept offering us small coins, bits of stone, and little 
articles of ornament, apparently by way of relics, all of 
which, at first, we steadily refused, though eventually Mr. 
Gere took a small piece of fur from one man, and I selected 
a copper coin with one or two Greek characters on it. This, 
as will be seen subsequently, brought us into very great 

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trouble ; and travellers cannot be too careful in strictly re- 
fusing either to accept or purchase any articles which may 
be offered them. Mr. Ashton also, after incessant importu- 
nity on the part of one of our unwelcome followers, accepted 
a cherry stick with a peculiar triangular handle, much used 
by the Bedawin, representations of which occur in ancient 
hieroglyphics. Our American friend also was the innocent 
cause of one man discharging his pistol in the air, he having 
merely taken it into his hand to examine the rude weapon, 
and it was forthwith fired off by its owner with an air of 
triumph. For this the fellow had an object in view, as 
we afterwards discovered to our cost, though at the time 
we merely supposed he was proving the excellence of his 

As we had now examined a considerable portion of the 
ruins, and the sun was extremely oppressive, we thought it 
would be well to return to our tents and ascertain what 
arrangement had been come to with the sheikh and his fol- 
lowers. We found about twenty well-armed Arabs hovering 
round the tents, some seated on the ground, others standing ; 
while one or two of the principal men were vehemently dis- 
cussing matters with Achmet and our sheikh in their tent. 
They were evidently highly displeased at the arrangements 
which we had come to at Akaboh with Sheikh Mohammed. 
His half-brother had enough to do to defend his absent rela- 
tive, and poor Achmet wore a most troubled and lugubrious 
expression of countenance. It was clear that we should have 
reserved more money, for the authorities at Petra rightly 

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consider that they are, after all, those most entitled to benefit 
by the visits of travellers. This is one of the most unsatis- 
factory features of a Petra expedition, because it does seem 
singular that the negotiations are all to be conducted at a 
place several days' journey distant, without any delegate from 
those who are the actual masters of the city, to see that their 
claims are not overlooked. To make matters worse for us, 
the principal sheikh of the Petra district, Abnegazion by name, 
was away in the mountains, so that there was no one really 
able to keep order among the clamorous Fellaheen who sur- 
rounded us. Fresh arrivals also constantly took place, and 
it was quite clear that they meant to make the most of us, 
for a number of the men took up their quarters in one of the 
large cavern tombs close to our tents, where they lighted a 
fire and made preparations for passing the night. 

Disgusted with so much noise and angry disputations of 
whose details we were ignorant, though we had a good guess 
as to their purport, Mr. Ashton and I walked towards the 
Sik valley to have another look at the beautiful Khuzneh, 
while Mr. Gtere remained in the tent watching the tumult. 
After all the wrangling and clamour which we had left, the 
stillness of the ravine in which this unique monument is 
situated was doubly grateful ; and, seated on a rock, I took 
a long survey of its exquisite details. I felt reluctant to 
leave a scene which I well knew I should never behold again; 
and the pale pink flush that suffuses with ethereal beauty 
this lovely structure, seemed to grow deeper as the declining 
sun sunk behind those wild mountains. I ftilly experienced 

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PETRA 225 

also that feeling of melancholy which impressed both 
Bartlett and Olin as they surveyed the Khuzneh, whose fairy- 
like form haunted my memory long after more imposing 
monuments were well-nigh forgotten. 

We found the aspect of affairs in no degree smoother on 
our return to the camp, and each hour brought fresh acces- 
sions to the numbers of the Fellaheen, who now became more 
demonstrative and threatening in their attitude. To do them 
justice, however, they certainly respected our tent, for 
although one or two of them looked in at the partially open 
entrance from time to time, they did not actually favour us 
with their most unwelcome presence. As night fell, they 
lighted more fires in the surrounding tombs, and the yellow 
glare of the flames lit up the savage figures of the Arabs, 
casting a strong glow over the ruddy rocks. The situation 
was highly picturesque and dramatic; three unfortunate 
travellers, utterly impecunious as regarded the only coin 
current in Petra, many days* journey from the faintest sem- 
blance of civilised authority or jurisdiction, and at the mercy 
of a yelling mob of wild Arabs, who were gradually working 
themselves up to a most unpleasant pitch of frenzy. They 
seemed all to talk at once, and in such terms of exasperation 
that, believing at one time they had come to extremities with 
Achmet and his attendants, we emerged from our tent to 
ascertain the cause of the angry tumult. Several of the men 
immediately came up to us, making very significant signs 
that we should leave them to settle their differences in their 
own fashion, and as we only appeared to add fuel to the fire 


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of their wrath/ we again sought our tent. That night was 
certainly one of the most anxious I ever spent, for it appeared 
that they were determined to force us to accede to their 
demands for more money, as they no doubt could not under- 
stand how travellers, with all the comforts and luxurious 
appliances which we possessed, had not the wherewithal to 
satisfy their claims. Still, I knew that we were watched 
over by One who * slumbereth not,* and that He never will 
fail those who put their trust in Him. 

Next morning the tumult was renewed, but in the broad 
light of day the scene had a more modified aspect than it 
wore in the lurid atmosphere of those ruined tombs, lit up 
by the watch-fires of the Arabs. Still the debate between 
Achmet and Sheikh Mohammed's brother on the one side, and 
the leading Fellaheen on the other, was being carried on with 
full vigour, so we were glad to stroll away, apparently with- 
out attracting special notice, to examine some more tombs 
on the eastern cliff. Mr. Ashton and I struck across the 
shallow wady forming part of the area of the ancient city, 
in search of the tomb with a Latin inscription mentioned 
by Laborde, but were not successful in finding it. On our 
return to the tents we found that a better understanding 
had been come to between the conflicting parties, and that 
the tents were being struck. However, we were by no means 
to be allowed to get beyond the reach of our importunate 
hosts, guardians, or enemies, as the case might be, for it was 
extremely dijBBlcult to decide in what character they considered 
themselves to stand towards us. We now saw the mistake 

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PETRA 227 

which had been committed in taking the two or three trifles 
from our attendants of the previous day. They put in a 
claim of several dollars for each separate article we had taken, 
and the man who fired off his pistol demanded an exorbitant 
amount for this fusillade in our honour, or whatever we might 
consider it. Poor Achmet was driven to his wits* end to 
furnish excuses, arguments, and what was the only effectual 
persuader, coin. Each of us ransacked our purses, the cook 
and waiter produced what money they had, but still the cry 
was, Oliver Twist-like, for ^ more.' Fortunately for us, an 
elderly man, evidently looked upon with respect by the others, 
with a fine countenance and a benevolent courteous air 
altogether, seemed to take our part, and it was arranged 
that he and several other of the more respectable Fellaheen 
should accompany us for a time. We would have liked to 
see more of Petra, but so long as we were surroxmded by a 
yelling rabble nothing could be done in comfort; and besides, 
we had a long journey to Hebron, and had no wish to be 
unduly delayed. 

At last our preparations were complete, and, leaving the 
baggage animals to follow, we set off before noon, following 
the left bank of the stream, and passed close to Pharaoh's 
Palace. We then ascended a rather steep acclivity near the 
base of the western cliffs, where the rivulet of Wady Miisa 
enters a dark ravine, so thickly overgrown with oleanders 
and laurels as to be well-nigh impassable. There are numerous 
singular excavations in the cliffs near this spot which will 
well repay careful examination. These tombs are much 


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smaller and less ornamented than those in the eastern cliff, 
the pilasters and cornices of the fa9ade being generally almost 
worn away. Indeed, comparatively few of these had ever 
been carved on the tombs, which are mostly of an unimportant 
character. Their mode of construction would appear to have 
been singular, judging from the unfinished specimen which 
may be seen here. The face of the rock was scarped away 
so as to leave two flanking buttresses, between which the 
fa9ade was intended to rise. Having traced on the smooth 
face of the rock the design of the tomb, the architect pro- 
ceeded first to construct the capitals of the columns, which, 
with about a foot of the pillar itself and the bare lines of the 
entablature above, is all that has been finished. There is a 
square doorway in the lower part of the unfinished front 
towards the left comer, which admits to a good-sized chamber 
containing receptacles for dead bodies. Many of the tombs 
near this seemed to be camping-places for the Bedawin, 
and utilised as sheltering spots for their flocks and camels, 
judging from the litter which they contained. 

There is a large isolated mass of rocks to the south of 
Pharaoh's Palace, which we kept on our left as we slowly 
marched along with our numerous cavalcade of Arabs sur- 
rounding us. This seems to have been considered by Laborde 
to be the ancient Acropolis of Petra, or at any rate to have 
once been crowned by a strong fortress. It occupies a com- 
manding site overlooking the area of part of the city, and 
there are remains of foundations and buildings which may 
be traced by the careftJ observer. Our road lay along the 

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PETRA '229 

banks of the rivulet at its base, and we presently wound our 
way up a rocky defile leading to a small plain, from whence 
a fine view of Moant Hor is obtained. In the sandstone 
rocky terraces which seam the ground to the south, there 
are numerous curious excavated chambers or tombs, some 
of them partaking more of the character of cisterns or 
reservoirs for water. There is a range of low red-coloured 
cliffs, also, with great natural caverns or archways in them, 
which attracted our observation. 

At this point, however, an unexpected announcement was 
made to us that the principal sheikh of the district, Abnega- 
zion, whom I have before named, was riding after us with a 
considerable body of followers. He was too important a 
personage not to be treated with every consideration, so we 
came forward, accompanied by Achmet, and received him with 
proper empressement. His appearance, and that of his re- 
tainers, was highly picturesque, and their horses were the 
best we had yet seen. Most of the men, however, were on 
foot, but their dress, arms, and accoutrements were far 
superior in quality to those of the Petra men. The sheikh 
wore a Jcufiyeh of rich silk, and the flowing costume of the 
desert set off his dark, handsome features to advantage. He 
had a ready smile and a courteous bearing, and altogether 
seemed quite disposed to make himself agreeable. Apparently 
he had heard of the annoyance to which we had been sub- 
jected, for he was profase in his apologies, and, in particular, 
urged us to make the ascent to the famous rock-hewn monu- 
ment El Deir, * the convent,' certainly one of the glories of 

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PetnL This we were glad to do, because on the previous 
day, when we expressed a wish to visit it, our guides professed 
utter ignorance of the subject, and indeed our time would 
not have allowed it. Accordingly, as it was an expedition 
involving both time and toil, Achmet thought it best to 
pitch our camp for the night in one of the large caverns in 
the cliflfe at our back, and the sheikh selected three men 
to accompany us as guides. 

The Deir is a noble monument, hewn entirely out of the 
rock in the face of a precipice far up in the mountain ranges 
which hem in Petra, and from its wildly-secluded situation 
and very difficult approach many travellers do not visit it. 
Laborde first fully described the temple from personal exami- 
nation, although it was seen from the summit of Mount Hor 
by Irby and Mangles, who could not get a guide to conduct 
them to the spot. To ascend the rocky fastnesses leading to 
this remote monument a guide is indispensable; so, accom- 
panied by our three barefooted, wild-looking companions, 
each of whom had a long gun slung across his shoulders, we 
retraced our steps until we arrived at the opening in the 
cliffs through which the stream from Wady Musa passes. 
From this point we pursued a northern direction up a wide 
ravine, with a sandy bottom, in which grow numerous and 
large laurels, oleanders, and wild fig trees. The rocky pre- 
cipices are here of a deep red colour, and are of great height, 
rising in a succession of crags of an inaccessible description. 
The base of the rocks, close by which our path lay, is in 
many places pierced with excavations, without any pretension 

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PETRA 231 

to regnlarity or arcliitecture ; but higher up on the opposite 
cliflfe are seen some large tombs ornamented -with columns. 
As we threaded our way amidst the luxuriant masses of 
shrubs which, in some places, almost filled the ravine now 
growing much narrower and steeper, we were struck with 
the grandeur of this strange pass. In some places great 
detached masses of rock, fallen from the overhanging cliffs, 
oppose an almost insurmountable barrier to your progress. 
The gorge differs from the Sik in that, while in the latter 
the overarching rocks allow little of the mountains beyond 
to be seen, here you gaze upwards at terrific peaks and wild 
precipices which defy any attempts to scale their dizzy 

After a while we reached the commencement of the grand 
series of stairs, hewn in the sandstone rock, which conducts 
to the Deir. These are by no means continuous, for floods 
of water and the feet of pilgrims in far-distant ages have 
worn the steps away in many instances. Blocks of stone in 
some places have been placed in position as steps, and -in 
others the face of the rock has been formed into a gentle 
slope, up which you can mount with some difficulty. This 
singular staircase follows the various windings of the narrow 
pass, which becomes now excessively steep, and the pathway 
occasionally skirts deep gorges, whose dark recesses cannot 
be fathomed. Tew trees of good size are seen springing 
from some resting-place amid the ruddy rocks, and a pro- 
fusion of creepers find a foothold, from, which their streamers 
wave in the breeze, which rarely, however, visite these gloomy 

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defiles. Sometimes a short flight of steps^ branching ofif from 
the main range, conducts to an excavation or small tomb, 
that once may have been a sanctuary in all probability. 
There are one or two particularly dangerous comers which 
have to be turned as the path grows steeper, and in places 
where the stairs have been entirely worn away it is difficult 
to secure a foothold. It is a savage, Salvator Eosa style of 
scene altogether, and the gradations of colour also heighten 
the remarkable appearance of the rocks. 

At last, after half an hour's toil, we stood upon the broad 
platform, partly excavated and partly built, at the end of 
which rises up the grand fa9ade of the Deir. It is a stupen- 
dous and wonderful monument, in perfect preservation, and 
has a bold architectural elevation entirely hewn in the 
sand-stone rock. Towering up to a height of 150 feet, with 
columns 50 feet high and of corresponding diameter, above 
which are massive architraves, another range of pillars, and 
an enormous urn crowning the huge structure, it is little 
wonder that it excites the astonishment and admiration of 
all travellers. Its general appearance is a mixture of the 
ELuzneh and the Corinthian tomb ; but it is much larger 
than either, having more columns and projections, though it 
is devoid of windows — in fact, the only entrance to its fine 
interior hall is by a lofty doorway, which seems not to have 
been cut down to a level with the base of the fa9ade, but is 
some feet above it. The style of architecture appears to be 
considered defective by those learned in such matters, and 
the building has but little of the rich elegance of detail and 

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PETRA 283 

carving noticeable in the Khuzneh ; but it has an unques- 
tionable grandeur of its own. The columns are not entirely- 
separated from the rock, and there are several broad arched 
niches in both upper and lower story, apparently for the re- 
ception of statues. The cliff must have been first perpen- 
dicularly cut away after immense labour, so as to present 
a surface for excavating the monument, and the great 
buttresses of rock on either side show the depth of the 
cutting. The main feature in the upper story is the same 
cylindrical monument crowned with a ponderous vase, that 
is seen in the two fine tomb temples above mentioned. The 
fa9ade is 150 feet broad, and you can ascend to the top of 
the entire temple by a staircase cut in the rock. There is 
nothing of interest in the interior of the great chamber, 
which is devoid of ornament, and very likely was used as a 
Christian church, there being a niche at one end suitable 
for an altar. 

Situated as this extraordinary temple is amidst the pro- 
found solitudes of those strange, fantastic red precipices, 
nearly 1,500 feet above the site of Petra, it must ever offer 
materials for interesting speculation as to its object and 
isolated position. Was it a triumphal monument, a dwelling- 
place for men, a fane for worship, or a majestic abode for 
the dead ? What daring architect wrought out this wondrous 
edifice in the solid mountain side, and who were those that 
assembled here to celebrate their strange rites within those 
silent walls P From its broad esplanade you gaze across a 
wild array of mountains, and on ascending the crag opposite to 

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the Deir, a much more extensive view is gained. On the other 
side of a vast abyss extending amidst the spurs of another 
range of lofty cliffs, the grand form of Mount Hor is seen, 
with the lone tomb of the great High Priest of Israel on its 
rugged brow. It has a sharp, jagged outline, and the small 
white building covering the actual tomb is distinctly visible ; 
but the precipitous stony sides of the mountain would seem 
to deter any save those accustomed to such exercise from 
attempting its ascent. Part of Wady Musa is seen, with the 
serrated masses of rock surrounding it ; and the eye takes in 
a wide range of prospect, from the misty hills of Palestine, 
along the broad valley of the Arabah, to the red precipices 
of Petra. Various small chambers have been hewn in this 
rocky peak opposite to the Deir, and remains of columns and 
cornices, with one or two niches cut in the rock, show that 
the whole ground surrounding the Deir was in all probability 
held sacred. 

While we were calmly enjoying the noble view and specu- 
lating on the uses of this strange temple, our three attendants 
had disappeared. As the afternoon was far advanced, and 
already the clefts and chasms in the rocks were darkened 
with the shadows of approaching twilight, we thought it 
would be well to commence our descend. However, our 
guides were nowhere to be seen, so we were somewhat at a 
loss what to do. Suddenly the loud report of a gun saluted 
our ears, and was re-echoed from crag to crag with startling 
effect, but our efforts to discover the place from whence the 
shot came were ineffectual. We could not observe any 

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PETRA 235 

smoke which might guide us to the spot, and listened for 
the sound of voices ; but all was silent as the grave. The 
echoes of the shot had sullenly died away, and the unearthly 
stillness which seems to reign amid these once populous 
fastnesses again brooded over the scene. 

After waiting a long time we found there was nothing for 
it but to descend, trusting to our recollection of the upward 
path. This is not so very easy a matter at first, for there 
are several very steep and dangerous turnings, where a false 
step would send the traveller headlong down a yawning 
abyss ; but we succeeded in almost gaining the commence- 
ment of the crumbling staircase, when a loud shout from 
behind showed us that the wandering guides were on our 
track. When they came up they seemed to be in a high 
state of excitement ; for it turned out that they had killed 
an ibex, but were unable to drag its body along with them. 
They looked wilder than ever, with streaks of blood about 
their fingers and faces, and they were flushed with their 
rapid descent and the excitement of the chase. Very sig- 
nificant were the signs they made to us to explain the mode 
in which they stalked and brought down the unfortunate 
animal. Drawing their hands across their throats, and 
wildly gesticulating with their arms, while their eyes 
gleamed with an expression of savage glee, they showed how 
the sight of blood arouses the passions of these children 
of nature. They laughed and chattered away among them- 
selves, and, apparently delighted to exhibit their prowess, 
two of them subsequently started in pursuit of some par- 

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tridges which we saw in the distance, and fired one or two 
shots at them — this time, however, without any result. 

When we got back to our camping-ground we found the 
baggage and tent furniture all stowed away in one of the 
large caverns, and a number of the Arabs squatted in front, 
smoking and drinking coffee in a very amicable manner. 
Achmet ran up a sort of partition, which partially screened 
our dinner-table from observation, and we made a capital 
meal in our novel quarters, undisturbed by our visitors. We 
found the sheikh disposed to be very friendly, though he was 
extremely indignant with his brother dignitary Mohammed 
for appropriating such an undue aniount of the hacJcsheeshy 
and we understood that he did not mean to allow that 
matter to drop. The men who were in attendance upon him 
were really a handsome and intelligent-looking set. Many 
of them were well-dressed, clean-looking fellows, and they 
seemed delighted with a few old engravings from the 
* Illustrated London News,' which I happened to have in 
my portmanteau. Specially they looked with much interest 
at a plate representing the Prince of Wales, passing it from 
hand to hand and making free comments on it. His Boyal 
Highness was styled by them * Sultan Ingleez,' and his beard, 
features, and general bearing seemed to meet with approval. 

The night was clear and starry, and the majestic double 
peak of Mount Hor, towering up right in front, was very 
striking, with the dark firmament above and the dusky out- 
lines of the ranges of Mount Seir in the distance. A strange 
picture presented itself to the imagination as one looked 

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PETRA 237 

upon that vast mountain side, whose rugged heights were 
now clothed with the shadows of night. The host of Israel, 
wearied with their long wanderings in the deserij and longing 
for the repose of the Promised Land, had here to mourn the 
death of one of their great leaders. For the irresistible decree 
had gone forth : ^ And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron 
in Mount Hor, by the coast of the land of Edom, saying, 
Aaron shall be gathered unto his people : for he shall not 
enter into the land which I have given unto the children of 
Israel ' {see Numbers xx.) ; * And Aaron died there in the 
top of the mount * (verse 28). Prom henceforth the great 
law-giver stood alone against a rebellious and murmuring 
host; but his courage never faltered, for he knew that One 
whose counsels * fail not,' watched over His chosen people. 

We remembered also that we had looked our last upon 
that long-lost city a few of whose monumental remains I 
have endeavoured to describe, and the idea naturally 
occurred to what end were those strange structures raised ? 
The Deir, the Khuzneh, and some of the larger monuments 
appear to have been temples ; but the greater number of the 
smaller excavations, in all probability, were originally 
dwelling-places of the Horim, or * Dwellers in caves.' That 
there were many of this ancient people in the land of Edom 
as far back as the days of the Patriarchs, we learn from 
various passages of Holy Writ. The Edomites for seventeen 
centuries were a powerful people, and doubtless dwelt among 
the secluded valleys of Petra, whose soft rocks were hewn into 
rude habitations with comparative ease. It is not difficult 

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to see that the adornments and windows may have been 
added at a subsequent period. The Boman conquerors 
gratified their love of the ornate in art by forming the 
beautiful facade of the Khuzneh and the ponderous archi- 
tecture of the Deir, Possibly the large chamber in each was 
all that they found over which to elaborate so costly and 
splendid a monument. It is impossible to pay who first con- 
structed the buildings of which such numerous traces and 
remains exist amidst the area of the city, but we can easily 
conceive that those numerous excavations in the surrounding 
cliflEs might well be used as convenient resting-places for 
their dead. 

No traveller, however, can fail to be struck with the com- 
pleteness of the destruction of this once prosperous city. 
Its temples lie prostrate on the ground, its quays have Mien 
in, and its bridges are in ruins ; its triumphal arches and 
stately columns serve in their utter overthrow but to * point 
a moral,' though no sculptured record is to be found even to 
* adorn a tale ; ' and only a few unimportant inscriptions, 
traced by some of its later possessors, attract the passing 
notice of the chance antiquarian. Terrible were the de- 
nunciations against this land of Edom, poured forth by 
the prophets of old, and how absolutely have they been 
fulfilled ! * I will stretch out my hand upon Edom, and will 
make it desolate from Teman,* says Ezekiel. 'Behold, O 
Mount Seir, I am against thee, and I will stretch out mine 
hand against thee, and I will make thee desolate,' again 
says the same prophet. ' I will lay thy cities waste,' he con- 

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PETRA 239 

tiniies. 'I will make thee despised among men/ says 
Jeremiah. * The owl also and the raven shall dwell in it/ 
writes Isaiah. * Then said the Lord of Hosts, They shall 
build, but I will throw down,* says Malachi. 

Many other passages from the Scriptures .might be given, 
but the foregoing will suffice to show how sternly the judg- 
ment of God has been wrought out asrainst the inhabitants 
of this country and their dwelling-places. Truly the scor- 
pion, the vulture, and the wild goat are now the sole 
denizens of those mysterious and splendid structures, though 
occasionally their domain is invaded by the wandering Arab 
or the ubiquitous Anglo-Saxon traveller. Their remote 
situation and the halo of interest cast around them by the 
narratives of some illustrious modem writers who have 
visited Petra, will always offer fascinations to future gene- 
rations of travellers ; and the roseate glories of its one un- 
rivalled temple must ever recur to memory like a beautiful 
vision — an almost myth-like creation of dreamland I 

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Next morning, being IViday, March 22, we made an early 
start, for we had a long fatiguing march before ns. After 
breakfast the sheikh and his chief men came to have a fare- 
well talk, and to make a few more demands, for they were 
not by any means pleased with the arrangement come to. 
They really understood that we had no more money, for we 
offered, if one of their number, in whom the sheikh had 
entire confidence, would accompany us to Jerusalem, to 
hand over to him there an additional amount of hacJesheesh. 
For some reason or other this was not agreed to, but the 
Arab chief was, to a certain extent, pacified by a promise on 
our part that a good pistol should be sent him from Cairo, 
and this Achmet undertook to arrange. I presented his son, 
a well-dressed, good-looking youth, about sixteen years old, 
with a pocket knife furnished with various accessories, such 
as picker, gimlet, corkscrew, &c., and he took it with an air 
of gratification. This young gentleman wore a remarkably 
stylish head-dress, a new cloak or abhay and a pair of hand- 
some new red leather boots reaching over the knee. He 

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must have been looked upon as a regular dandy among the 
Bedawin, and he seemed to be treated with much considera- 
tion by his father's retainers. 

The sheikh's countenance certainly looked clouded and 
gloomy, and he seemed extremely unwilling, after all, to part 
company with us, for his valedictory salutation, to say the 
least of it, lacked cordiality. However, off we started, having 
Mount Hor on our right hand, and in the course of an hour or 
so we came to the commencement of an excessively steep pass, 
leading from the great rocky plateau surrounding Petra down 
to the broad Wady Arabah, whose white sandy wastes we could 
see extending for many leagues at our feet. The track down 
the side of the mountains which form one of the ranges of 
Seir is excessively steep, and very hard upon the poor camels. 
It was a wonder that the contents of some of the boxes were 
not smashed to pieces. At last we gained the lower slopes 
of the mountain spurs, which are formed of regular heaps, 
or embankments, of sofb white sand, apparently dislodged 
jfrom the higher steeps above. Many cliffs of white lime- 
stone are seen in the shallow valleys about this spot, and the 
sxm is reflected from these vrith powerful effect. After 
reposing for a while in one hot, stony valley under the 
very insufficient shadow of a thorny acacia, we passed into the 
Wady Arabah. At first it is covered with stones and a few 
stunted shrubs here and there, scattered among which are 
some larger trees, but before long it opens out into a broad 
sandy plain. 

We had now arrived at a territory of debateable land, which 


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seemed to have considerable terrors for both our escort and 
our dragoman. It was therefore arranged that, after dinner, 
we should push on for some hours, taking advantage of the 
favouring moonlight. Very cool and pleasant it was to enjoy 
an alfresco dinner in the balmy evening air of the desert, 
and to watch the soft light of the moon gradually overspread- 
ing the scene. Indulging in the luxury of a pipe of Turkish 
tobacco, and imbibing a cup of fiugrant coffee, we soon for- 
got the exertions of the day, and were ready for a fresh start. 
We moved off silently and expeditiously, no sound being heard 
save the dull, heavy tread of the patient camels, while the 
pale ghostly landscape around seemed pervaded with an air 
of dimness and mystery. The plain is a hard, gravelly, sandy 
waste, across which faint tracks, made by the wandering 
tribes, may be distinguished. No sound of animal or human 
being was to be heard, nor was the faintest ray of light from 
tent or camp-fire to be seen. 

After marching for four hours in this stealthy manner, we 
brought up towards midnighb at a place where a few small 
trees gave a slight shelter, but as the night was so warm we 
needed little covering, and unpacked only a very few things. 
On the following day we again made a very early start, and 
marched steadily on the whole day till four o'clock. The 
heat was great, and we had nothing to quench our thirst 
except some most unpleasant- looking- water. We were much 
disappointed to find no spring at Ain-el-Weibeh, the spot that 
Eobinson and Porter fix upon as the true site of Kadesh, 
though Stanley takes an opposite view from these competent 

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observers as well as learned writers. Dr. Tristram, however, 
in his recent work upon the * Topography of the Holy Land,' 
authoritatively pronounces * Ain Gadis,' at the head of the 
Wady Gadis (the name being the exact Arabic equivalent of 
the Hebrew *Kadesh'), to be the true site. Ain Gadis is 
situated a day's journey from Lussan, one of the unidentified 
cities of Southern Judah, and there are three springs of water, 
which, in rainy weather, overflow and form a stream. 

Kadesh is a very important place in the record of the 
Israelitish wanderings, and is first mentioned in the Book 
of Genesis in connection with the battles between the kings, 
when the two rulers of Sodom and Gomorrah fell. The 
Israelites reached this place after leaving Sinai and Hazeroth, 
and frem it they sent forwai'd spies to examine the rich and 
fertile land which they had been directed to conquer. They 
were defeated near Kadesh by the Amalekites ; and here, on 
two separate occasions, the people murmured dgainst Moses 
and Aaron. Here, too, Moses wrought a striking miracle in 
bringing water from the rock to supply the wants of that 
great host, though, in the manner of doing so, he displeased 
the Lord. 

It is certainly a dreary and iminviting spot now, whatever 
attractions it may once have had for a vast concourse of 
warriora ; and I cannot help thinking, with Dean Stanley, that 
the site of Kadesh must be sought for very much nearer to 
Mount Hor. The only features of Ain-el-Weibeh are a few 
palm trees, some low clusters of bushes and coarse rank grass 
or rushes, with two or three muddy, shallow pools, or rather 

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paddles of water. Spring we could find none, and the first 
two or three of our thirsty camels soon drained the scanty 
supply of most uninviting-looking fluid. Prom this point, 
until we reached the terribly trying ascent called the SnWi 
Pass, we rode on through scenery of an extremely uninterest- 
ing character. Numerous shallow wadys, traversed with 
occasional low ridges, and mounds of shifting desert sand, 
present nothing attractive to the eye ; nor are the tribes who 
hover about this part of the Arabah at all very desirable 
characters to encounter, so we delayed as little as possible 
on our journey to Hebron. Our provisions, both for man 
and beast, were now also reduced to the lowest ebb, and 
Achmet was apprehensive lest they should give way alto- 
gether. ' • 

None of us are likely soon to forget the long, wearisome 
drag up that painful Suf&h Pass, its fatigue aggravated by 
th^ burning sun overhead and the glare from the shin- 
ing hard rocks. But it was for our poor, faithful animals, 
who had toiled so long under the weight of so much heavy 
baggage, that we felt compunctions. The slippery rock, 
which rises certainly at an angle of forty-five degrees from 
the plain, is so smooth that it affords little or no hold, even 
for the soft, spongy foot of the camel. No attempt seems to 
have been made to construct a few steps or hollows to aid 
the beasts of burden. Like all the roads, or rather wretched 
tracks, in this country, nothing is done to overcome the 
natural obstacles in the way. It was painful to see the 
way in which the camels sUd backwards sometimes, and, 

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trembling in every joint, tried in vain to recover themselves. 
One or two of them fell, and the wonder to me was how 
they ever reached the summit of the pass. There was an 
immense old white camel, with a heavy, drooping nnder 
lip, that was a favourite with us, and the way in which 
it made its way up, with our heavy tent and appendages on 
its back, excited our admiration. 

The view from the summit of this weary pass is fine, for 
you look back along the great expanse of the Arabah, with 
the dark purple mountains of Edom in the far-distant horizon, 
while, turning to the left, you survey the uplands and blue 
hills of Palestine. The extreme southern end of the Dead 
Sea was distinctly visible, a long white salt marsh, extending 
from the margin of the water for a considerable distance 
into the valley. We were now bidding farewell to our actual 
desert wanderings, for very soon we should be amongst the 
rolling grassy mounds of Judaea, all gay with crimson ane- 
mones and endless varieties of beautiful wild flowers. In- 
stead of the wild forms of the wandering children of Ishmael, 
with their dark flashing eyes and fierce looks, we were coming 
among the treacherous Turks and pale, downcast-looking 
Jews. The feeling of isolation from civilised man, and of 
utter solitude amongst the grand works of nature, which is 
so fascinating in its way, would soon be lost amidst the sights 
of populous towns and the bustle of modem hotels. News- 
papers and letters would once more worry the traveller, not 
yet satiated with the charms of life in the wilderness, and his 
desert costume must give place to the hot^ stifling dress which 

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&aIiion - prescribes. No longer can be sit under bis tent 
door, witbout coat or waistcoat, and, above all, tbe restric- 
tion of a linen collar, or stroll into tbe camp in tbe most 
neglig4 costume. Propriety and etiquette again resume tbeir 
wonted sway, and soon we must say good-bye to our faitbful 
attendants, wbo bad journeyed so far from tbeir fellows and 

For the better part of a day we traversed tbe bleak, stony 
territory and gravelly slopes wbicb conduct to tbe commence- 
ment of wbat is usually styled tbe Holy Land. About four 
o'clock in tbe afternoon of Marcb 25 we stopped for our 
evening meal at a spot wbere tbere was abundance of grass, 
and many green sbrubs of a different type from any we bad 
yet seen. All tbat day we bad been keeping an anxious look- 
out for Arabs, but it was not till we began to prepare for 
dinner tbat tbey appeared. We first of all saw a large berd 
of goats feeding on a bill side, and soon after a number of 
tbeir owners, botb men and women, came up and entered into 
conversation witb our followers. To keep matters smootb, 
Acbmet purchased a kid, wbicb was forthwith killed and 
dressed, for tbe benefit, principally, of our visitors. After 
dinner we resolved, as the night was extremely fine and calm, 
to make another moonlight marcb, and took vrith us one of 
our new allies to act as guide. It was delightfally cool, and 
tbe route was over smootb ground, which was specially 
suitable for tbe camels* We now journeyed over excellent 
soil, cultivated with care, and tbe early grain was more than 
half a foot high in most places. The stones and rocks had 

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disappeared, aud traces of the husbandman could everywhere 
be seen. 

Still our Arabs seemed to be excessivelj anxious to get 
away from this neighbourhood, and marched forward with a 
persistence and energy which showed they distrusted the loca- 
lity. Not one of them uttered a word, but with their noise- 
less footstep and swinging walk rapidly got over the ground. 
In the somewhat misty moonlight we could see that the 
country we traversed was characterised by grassy hills and 
cultivated slopes, but with hardly any trees or shrubs. 
Every half-hour or so we appeared to pass near a village 
or encampment, to judge by the barking of dogs and occa- 
sional calls and whistling from the inhabitants, but no one 
came near us. Thus silently did we steal along, the very 
camels seeming to be aware that they were to keep quiet, 
for they stalked on without uttering more than an occasional 
moan if any one was forced to kneel down for an instant. 
The moon after a while shone with brilliant lustre, and there 
was a degree of excitement in thus steadily urging on our 
way amidst the habitations of the unfriendly people around 
us. A constant barking of dogs was kept up on either side 
of our track, but generally it sounded a long way oflF, and^ 
apparently, the denizens of the villages seemed quite inclined 
to let us alone. 

Towards midnight we evidently passed into the rich pas- 
toral land of Judsea, for aU around us was the luxuriant grass 
and flowery herbs of a fertile soil. On we went over those 
rolling verdant hills, or along shallow valleys, carpeted with 

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turf, with an occasional field of corn between, until, at three 
in the morning, we called a halt, to give the camels some 
food and rest. Their loads were taken off, their forelegs tied 
together, and the animals were allowed to stray wherever 
they pleased, while we got out our mattresses and blankets, 
and lay down on the grass to sleep for a couple of hours. I 
slept soundly and awoke at half-past five, when the sun was 
just rising, A very heavy dew lay upon the ground, and our 
hair was quite wet with it, but we were greatly refreshed 
by our brief interval of repose. The cook soon had a fire 
lit, and we had a cup of tea with some bread, and by half- 
past six were again on the march for Hebron. IVom this 
point we journeyed quietly on through a pleasant, pastoral 
country, where the patriarchs of old fed their flocks, and 
every half-mile or so we came upon great herds of sheep 
and goats intermingled, guarded by a boy or a man, aided 
by two or three dogs. Eicher and more flowery grew the 
grassy meads, which were now scented with the pleasant 
odour of aromatic shrubs and painted by the variegated tints 
of the brilliant anemone, the pale lily, the simple daisy, the 
scented poppy, the speckled tulip, the small white star of 
Bethlehem, and many others. 

After marching through this beautiful country for four or 
five hours we found ourselves confronted by an abrupt and 
stony ascent, which leads to the higher plateau of fertile land 
in the more immediate vicinity of Hebron. On arriving at the 
summit of this pass, we saw before us the rocky eminences 
surrounding that ancient city, with a large intervening tra<:t 

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of country, over which we must pass before our long day's 
march would be over. The landscape is different in character 
from that I have been describing. There is abundance of 
grass, but rocks and stones crop out all over its surface, while 
in the shallow wadys between the hills numerous patches of 
grain are to be seen. Our guides now decidedly lost their 
reckoning, for we were assured that a large town on the 
slope of a hill some four miles off was Hebron. But after 
toiling across many fields, and over rough stone walls en- 
closing them, it was announced that we were all wrong, and 
must make a long dStov/r. As our sheikh confidently pro- 
fessed to be familiar with the road, Mr. Ashton thought he 
would follow him up a narrow valley full of olive and fig 
trees, which winds into the mountains round about Hebron, 
but Mr. Gere and I preferred to stick to our dragoman. 
The result proved that we were right, for our fellow traveller 
and the sheikh had a toilsome and hot climb to get out of 
the devious ravine in which they found themselves. 

It was past six o'clock at night when we slowly wound 
round the stony slopes of the olive-clad hills near Hebron. 
It lies in so sheltered a situation that, until you are vrithin a 
few hundred yards of its first houses, you see little or nothing 
to indicate that the most ancient city in the world, save 
Damascus, is close at hand. On rounding the shoulder of a 
range of hills, you emerge upon a succession of cornfields 
and vineyards, many of them fenced with substantial walls, 
and having a stone tower for defence. They lie in a valley 
which you traverse for some time, and then, at a turn in the 

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miserable track, you see before you the town built on the 
slope of a hill. Venerable olive and oak trees grow.sometimes 
in groves, and sometimes in the midst of a patch of grain 
or a vineyard. After traversing the wretched rocky track, 
or rather path for mules, the town is suddenly seen compact, 
white, and picturesquely situated, its lower extremity resting 
in the famed * Valley of Eschol,' so noted for its grapes. 
The houses are built of stone, mostly flat- roofed, but in some 
may be observed a low dome surmounting the waUs. The 
lofty, m.assive walls of the Haram, which encloses within its 
saci'ed precincts the ' Cave of Machpelah,' where rest the 
bones of Abraham and others of the patriarchs, form a con- 
spicuous object in the town. 

Hebron, from its ancient history and early importance, 
is frequently mentioned in Holy Writ ; and here were trans- 
acted many very prominent events, both in patriarchal and 
subsequent times. First known as * Kirjath Arba,' it was after- 
wards called Mamre, and was made memorable by the resi- 
dence in its valley of the great* Father of many nations.* By 
its later name of Hebron the city was appointed to be one of 
the six cities of refuge, and was afterwards the chosen seat of 
David's government. The sweet singer of Israel dwelt here 
for more than seven years, but it ceased after that to be of 
much note as a capital, and fell into decay. After the return 
of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity, the city was re- 
stored, but became the spoil of the Edomites, and in due 
course fell under Eoman sway. The Crusaders held posses- 
sion of Hebron for two centuries, during which time, a.d. 

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1167, it became the seat of a Latin bishopric, but finally 
came \mder the conquering rule of the followers of Islam, 
who have retained it ever since. 

We passed by the large pool, confined within walls of 
massive stone, which supplies the inhabitants with water. 
It is square, about 150 feet on each side, and 50 feet deep, 
and must be of very ancient construction, for it is mentioned 
in the Book of Samuel. There is another pool a consider- 
able distance north of the foregoing, but of much smaller 
dimensions, 85 feet by 55. As we defiled past the larger 
pool, some of the Jewish inhabitants of the city came up and 
saluted Achmet as though they knew him. It being thought 
better that we should not pitch our tents in such close 
vicinity to the city, it was arranged that we were to stay all 
night in the house of a Jew, who seems to keep a kind of 
odging-house for travellers. This house is not far from the 
arge pool, and has a pleasant view from its roof over the 
town and surrounding hills, but its inferior is by no means 
of the cleanest description. We walked along a very narrow 
passage, and then up some steep stairs, till we came to a 
room with a divan of stone running round three of its sides. 
Upon these our rugs and wraps were arranged, so as to im- 
provise a tolerably comfortable sleeping-place, had it not 
been for the unceasing attention of multitudes of fleas with 
which the house was infested. Several young and not bad- 
looking Jewish girls now appeared on the scene, dressed in 
gay-coloured jackets, with a good deal of jewellery about 
their heads and fingers, through whose agency a rather non- 

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descript meal was, after long delay, served np. The prin- 
cipal dish was a huge mess of eggs, cooked something after 
the fashion of an omelette, and eaten with bread, while 
some of the wine of Hebron accompanied the repast. This 
wine has a certain name for excellence, but it did not com- 
mend itself to our palates. However, as we were tired and 
hungry, we made the best of our indifferent entertainment, 
and after a while tried to sleep off the fatigues of the day, 
but had a wretched night of it, thanks to our numerous 

Next morning, accompanied by Achmct and a local guide, 
we set off to see the town, though there is but little of much 
interest to visit, owing to the great attraction of Hebron, the 
cave of Machpelah being rigidly closed against all travellers. 
The Prince of Wales, accompanied by Dean Stanley, was 
allowed in 1862 to inspect certain portions of the mosque 
built over the cave ; and Mr. Fergusson, author of a well- 
known work on architecture; and, at a later period, the 
Marquis of Bute did succeed in gaining admission to the 
sanctuary. The interior of the mosque is described as hand- 
some ; it has a lofty nave and aisles supported by many 
columns. Massive silver gates lead into the chapels of Abra- 
ham and Sarah, and the shrines of Isaac and Eebecca are 
pointed out. A hole in the pavement pierces through the 
natural rock, forming the roof of the cave, and a coarse iron 
lamp sheds an indistinct light dovm into the gloomy recesses 
of the cavern, allowing nothing of interest to be seen. The 
exterior walls of the Haram, as this mosque is called, are 

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formed of very massive stones of bevelled architecture, some 
of them nearly 40 feet long. In length this wall extends 
nearly 200 feet, and upwards of 50 in height, and is crowned 
with a poor-looking Saracenic addition, with a minaret at 
each end. A long flight of stairs, entered by an iron door 
in the eastern side, conducts to the area within, at the 
southern end of which is the mosque, which Mr. Fergusson 
considers may have been erected towards the beginning of 
the thirteenth century. Externally, certainly the Haram 
has a very venerable appearance, with its enormous old 
stones and mouldering pilasters ; while from interstices in 
the walls many creeping and flowering shrubs hang their 
verdant streamers to the passing breeze. 

Having looked into a deep fissure in a portion of the rock 
which protrudes through the wall, a little distance inside 
the gate, and being assured that in the thick gloom beyond 
was the veritable cave of Machpelah, we set off to inspect 
the glass works which have existed for a long time in Hebron. 
The works are situated in a gloomy, cavernous-looking build- 
ing, more like a . cellar than anything else, in one of the 
narrow, dirty streets of the town. A few half-naked dusky 
men are seen brandishing iron rods, at the end of which are 
the masses of red-hot glass that they extract from the. glow- 
ing furnace before them. The articles produced are drink- 
ing vessels, glasses, and various glass ornaments, chiefly 
bangles for the wrist and ankles, a few of which I purchased. 
These are certainly superior to the trinkets of similar manu- 
facture which one sees at the bazaars on the Nile. We did 

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not linger long here, as may be supposed, but took a further 
stroll through the town, and then reclined under the shade 
of some old olive trees, waiting till our animals were ready 
to start for Jerusalem, Our faithful camels were to accom- 
pany us no farther, and we took leave of the Arabs who had 
attended us all the way from Akabah, giving them the usual 
small hacJcsheesh in addition to the stipulated payment. 
Achmet had engaged some horses and mules to take our 
baggage, and at first one rather missed the comfortable soft 
seat, built up of rugs and wraps, on the cameFs back.^ 

It was about mid-day when we set off along the rough, 
rocky mule ti*ack which conducts you past the famous old 
oak tree, known as * Abraham's Oak,* a mile or so west of 
Hebron. This ancient tree, the last representative of the 
oaks of Mamre, is some 23 feet in girth, and is situated in a 
garden a little way off the road. I cannot say it has a par- 
ticularly imposing appearance, but it certainly has a vener- 
able air of antiquity. Near this are the ruins supposed to 
be the site of Mamre, now called Rameh, consisting of a few 
massive stones which once formed part of a fine basilica 
erected by Constantine, and close by is ' Abraham's Well.' 
Various other remains of towers and fortresses are scattered 
about the hills in the vicinity of Hebron, and all this country 
has been the scene of numerous battles and encounters during 
the warfare which formerly harassed Judaea. The scenery 
is bleak, bare, and uninteresting — low, rocky hills, scantily 
clad with grass and cornfields on some of their slopes, with 
an occasional shrub or fig tree to relieve the view. 

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About four o'clock we reached the celebrated Pools of 
Solomon, which remain to this day an astonishing proof of 
the magnificent enterprise of the wise king. The upper one is 
380 feet long, 236 feet broad, and 25 feet deep, but there was 
no water in it, though Achmet said he had never seen it dry 
before. The others are still larger in dimensions, and the 
three are fed by springs in the surrounding hills. It oc- 
curred to me that the masonry was not quite so massive as one 
might have expected, nor have these structures so very vener- 
able an appearance. Aqueducts have of late years been dis- 
covered, built at three different levels, so that if one failed 
the others remained, by which the water was conveyed from 
these immense reservoirs to Jerusalem. The inhabitants of 
Bethlehem and its neighbourhood still derive their chief 
supply of water from Solomon's Pools. The latter- are par- 
tially excavated out of the rocky valley, and are formed at 
three different heights, while an external channel conveys the 
water to each of the pools. Jerusalem still is partly supplied 
with water fi^m these reservoirs, by one of the aqueducts 
which leads into Mount Moriah. Close to the upper pool is 
a large square building without any roof, and whose walls, 
seemingly of Saracenic construction, are strong and solid, 
but there is no special history attached to it. 

The face of the country has now a more clothed and 
picturesque appearance, while oaks, arbutus, and other trees 
give a green look to the valleys. That the country was 
once well cultivated may be seen by the numerous walls 
running along the slopes of the hills, that supported the 

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terraces in whose soil the vines and grain were grown. Our 
feelings were now being gradually wrought up to a high 
pitch of anticipation, as we were rapidly nearing the spot 
from which we should catch sight of the Holy City, whose 
hallowed memories are so deeply interwoven in the thoughts 
of all who trust for salvation in the blood of Him who died 
for our sins. I felt a thrill as the name of Bethlehem was 
pronounced by Achmet, who pointed out the distant white 
flat-roofed houses and walls of a small town situated on a 
green hill-side, as the sacred birthplace of Our Blessed Lord. 
It is surrounded with vineyards and fruitful gardens, witti 
numerous olive trees dotting the slopes of the hills that 
bound the view to the east. 

Our road now grew steeper and broader, having decidedly 
the appearance of more traffic npon it, and some attempts 
have been made to overcome the natural obstacles it presented. 
We presently came up to a very plain white structure, 
whose name inspires deep interest, for it is * Eachel's Tomb.' 
The touching narrative of the death of the dearly-loved wife 
of Jacob indicates the spot with much minuteness, and one 
of the saddest incidents which befell the wily patriarch during 
his chequered career is commemorated by this sepulchre. Cer- 
tainly there is little of interest externally in the unornamented 
building, which is crowned by a dome, and on looking through 
a small hole in the wall, all that I could see inside was a rude 
sarcophagus, apparently covered with plaster. There is a 
well close to the tomb, from which two very pretty Jewish girls 
were drawing water, and a little beyond is seen a fertile 

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valley, full of fine olive trees, with a small village planted 
on its western slope. 

We now were on the high road between Bethlehem and 
Jerusalem, and met a good many travellers of various nation- 
alities clad in their distinguishing costumes. Many of those 
whom we saw seemed to be prosperous inhabitants of Jeru- 
salem, mounted on prancing horses, whose paces they seemed 
fond of showing off. We observed also a few good new-look- 
ing houses on the roadside, standing in fields of grain, with 
olive trees about them, and substantial stone walls in some 
places bound the road on each side. The road now mounted 
up a steep ascent, at the summit of which stands the convent 
of Mar Elias, a building of considerable size and solid con- 
struction, near which Elijah is said to have been miraculously 
sustained on his flight from Samaria. Here the traveller 
8tx)ps and reverently takes a last look at the distant white 
houses of Bethlehem, with its venerable church erected over 
the birthplace of Our Lord, and then, moving a few paces 
on, the first view is obtained of the city of the Great King. 
This is by no means the best point from which to view Jeru- 
salem for the first time, because hardly anything is seen of 
the actual city, owing to the intervening hill of Evil Counsel, 
which shuts it out. Still the summit of Mount Zion is visible, 
crowned with the white walls of the Armenian convent, the 
great dome of the mosque of Omar, and the Mount of Olives 
beyond ; while in front are the embattled Saracenic walls, 
near the Jaffa gate, with the grey tower of Hippicus. Out- 
side the walls the immense white Russian convent is seen, 


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and the rocky ridge concealing the valley of Hinnom, between 
which and the convent of Mar Elias is the cultivated * plain 
of Eephaim,' where David overcame the Philistines. 

We gazed in reverent silence upon Jerusalem, within whose 
embattled walls is the scene of the death of the Son of God for 
the sins of a guilty world, and whose valleys and rocks have 
been trodden so offc by His feet. Here He went about to seek 
and save the lost, healing the sick, and warning sinners to 
flee from the wrath to come. Clad in poor attire, with 
humble, imlettered men for His followers. He offered a priceless 
diadem to those who would accept the gracious gift from His 
hands. Within the walls, where once the wise king of Israel 
reigned in splendour, a ' Greater than Solomon ' taught the 
wondering multitudes. The pure white lilies, which deck 
the sides of yonder Mount of Olives, furnished Him with a 
deathless commentary upon the vanity of the earthly glory 
of even so mighty a potentate as Solomon. Within sight of 
the rocks from which Jeremiah uttered forth his inspired 
denunciations against a guilty ciiy, a mightier far than he 
wept tears of sorrow over doomed Jerusalem. Tes ! before 
us lay the great city of David, which so often has been as- 
sailed during the world's history by the vast hosts of many 

Here came the all-conquering Alexander, flushed with the 
subjugation of the Persian Empire, and did obeisance to the 
High Priest, whose God, he said, had in a dream foretold the 
conquest he should achieve. After enjoying for a season the 
great Macedonian's sway, Jerusalem fell under the power of 

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the Ptolemies, and the haughty Syrian Antiochus established 
his power in the city of David when the Egyptian rule was 
overthrown. Then came the noble struggle of the Macca- 
bees, who for a season triumphed over the invader and once 
more established the kingdom of Judsea. Pompey the Great, 
at the head of the invincible Eoman legions, placed the 
proud ensigns of the mistress of the world upon the walls and 
towers of Jerusalem, and for well-nigh six centuries, with 
one or two brief interludes, the Imperial sway was acknow- 
ledged by the Jews. During that period, in a.d. 72, the 
memorable siege by Titus occurred, when almost every 
building in the city was destroyed, except the still-standing 
tower of Hippicus and two others. Then after the final 
decline of mighty Eome, the cruel rule of the infidel Moslems 
began with the capture of the city in a.d. 636 by Caliph 
Omar. A transient season of glory, under the chivalrous 
reign of the Crusaders, cast a gleam of light upon the gloom 
which now settled over the city, and again the true worship 
of Jehovah was celebrated in His own chosen habitation. 
But soon the sceptre fell from the feeble hands of the suc- 
cessors to the gallant Godfrey, and in 1243 the banner of 
the Cross ceased to wave over the walls of Jerusalem. 

8 2 

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We entered the city by the Jaffa gate, and after trying in 
vain to find quarters in the Mediterranean Hotel, near Mount 
Zion, we were fortunate in getting excellent accommoda- 
tion at the house of Mr. Max TJngar, who keeps a lodging- 
house not very far from the Damascus gate. He can 
accommodate about six or eight people, and we were made 
very comfortable during our short stay in the Holy City, at 
a scale of charges considerably less than that of the hotels. 
One of our first visits was to Mr. Bergheim, the banker, to 
get letters and a supply of money, while our dragoman, who 
had engaged a guide for us, went to arrange matters with 
the muleteers, or mukliaris, as they are called, who were to 
attend us for the remainder of our tour. Mr. Ashton and I, 
who were both furnished with letters of introduction to the 
Bishop of Jerusalem, Dr. Gobat, went to pay our respects to 
him, and were received with cordial courtesy. The bishop 
resides in a handsome white stone house, nearly opposite the 
ancient tower of Hippicus, and close to the elegant church 
which has been erected for the Christian converts and 

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visitors. The church and adjoining buildings are the pro- 
perty of the London Society for promoting Christianity 
among the Jews, and services are conducted by the bishop 
and assistants in several languages, for the benefit of dif« 
ferent proselytes and visitors. There is a daily Hebrew 
service early in the morning, and on Sundays there are two 
English services, at 10 forenoon and half-past 7 evening. 
The German service is at 3 o'clock afternoon in winter, 
and on Wednesdays at 7 evening. The Society employs 
three ordained missionaries, besides lay agents, and their 
boys' and girls' school has nearly 100 children on its rolls ; 
besides which there is a Diocesan school and orphanage, the 
Prussian Deaconesses girls' school, and Miss Grobat's school 
for Arab girls. These, however, do not exhaust the number 
of Christian agencies, for there is the Church Missionary 
Society, who occupy the Arabic Chapel, where service in that 
language is held every Sunday morning, and this Society 
employs an ordained and lay missionary. In addition to 
which Mr. Schneller's Home for Orphans, a hospital and 
dispensary in connection with the London Jews' Socieiy, 
and the * Hebrew Christian Mutual Aid Society,' all do good 
and useful work. The latter puts forth special claims, as it 
was founded by Hebrew Christians for the object of relieving 
the necessities of these poorer Christians, who have, owing to 
their conversion, been deprived of their former means of 
support. J 

The population of Jerusalem consists of some 18,000, 
of whom about 9,000 are Jews and 4,000 Christians ; the 

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former have eight synagogues and nearly forty smaller 
places of worship. The Mohammedans have eleven mosques, 
the largest of which is the celebrated mosque of Omar, on 
Mount Moriah. The Jews are divided into two main sects, the 
Ashkanasim and the Sephardim, the latter being of Spanish 
origin, and their dialect is in that language, rather cor- 
rupted from its original purity. The latter sect are subject 
to the Sultan, but are allowed to enjoy their own rabbinical 
laws ; while the Ashkanasim are mostly of German and Polish 
origin, and being foreigners, are subject to their own con- 
sular agents. Both these sects and the stragglers from various 
countries who are attracted to Jerusalem, are mainly sup- 
ported by contributions from their more prosperous brethren 
in Europe. Of the Christian sects, the Greek is the most im- 
portant, numbering over 1,500 adherents, who are all native 
Arabs, having for their head the Patriarch of Jerusalem. 
This dignitary resides in the convent at Jerusalem, and has 
fourteen sees subject to his rule. He, his clergy and monks, 
are mostly natives of the Grecian islands. The Armenians, 
some 300 in number, have also their patriarch, who resides 
in their splendid convent on Moimt Zion, and is spiritual 
head of the entire sect in Palestine. The Latins are chiefly 
Syrians, and speak Arabic ; they are very generally seceders 
from the Greek Church, and they also have their patriarch, 
or * warden,' who has fourteen convents under his juris- 
diction. Besides the above, there are a small number ot 
Georgians, Copts, and Syrians among the Christian popula- 
tion of the Holy City. 

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As our stay was to be very limited, we sotofif first to get a 
general idea of the city by making a detour of a consider- 
able part of the walls, ascending to their summit near the 
Jaffa gate. There is a regular ledge of stone forming a 
good walk for most part of the way, only that at the nu- 
merous angles in the wall you have generally to descend and 
ascend again by narrow stairs. On our right hand, inside 
the walls, the Christian quarter is mainly situated, and it 
ends about the Damascus gate. Here are several of the 
Greek convents, and in many parts there are considerable 
unoccupied spaces of ground, which are cultivated with grain 
and vegetables. In the immediate vicinity of the walls 
are seen the extensive hospices and gardens belonging to 
the Eussian convent. The sun was intensely hot, and we 
were glad of any shade which the projections of the walls 
afforded. On the other side of the extensive Damascus 
gate the Mohammedan quarter is reached, their cemetery 
being visible from the wall not far from the grotto of Jere- 
miah, and midway between this gate and the angle of the 
wall, where it overhangs the valley of Jehoshaphat, is the 
small closed gate of Herod. We now kept along the top 
of the eastern wall, having the Mount of Olives on our 
left rising from the valley of Jehoshaphat, which runs 
parallel vnth the old walls until they take a bend to the 
west, not far from the mosque El Aksa. Proceeding along 
the eastern wall for some distance, the hill Bezetha is passed 
on the right, a broad rocky ridge, partly covered with olive- 
groves. Close to St. Stephen's Gate is seen, situated a short 

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distance within the walls, the traditional pool of Bethesda. 
This is a large hollow, like kn old quarry, with broken-down 
walls, whose stones have partially filled the open space, one 
of its sides being part of the northern end of the Haram. A 
little water trickles into it from a small stream, but there is 
no pool in the ordinary sense of the word. 

We now proceeded outside of the city walls by passing 
through St. Stephen's Grate, and we were here struck by the 
massive character of the masonry of the wall. About this 
point it is probable that the substratum of the great enclosure 
of the Haram begins, for the bevelled stones are venerable in 
appearance and carefcdly finished. The Haram covers a 
vast portion of ground, the whole of Mount Moriah in fact, 
its eastern side being 1,530 feet in length, though its breadth 
is not much more than 900 feet. This great area was the 
site of Solomon's Temple, and is an immense artificial work 
or platform of masonry built upon huge walls and a solid 
substructure. The topmost ridge of rock, nearly in the 
centre of this platform, which was once the threshing-floor 
of Araunah, is now covered over by the gorgeous fabric of 
the mosque of Omar. These great stones above described 
are probably part of the foundation of Solomon's Temple, 
and painted letters, of Phoenician character apparently, have 
been recently discovered on some of the stones. 

The now closed Golden Gate, directly facing the Mount of 
Olives in the eastern wall, is the principal feature of this part 
of the city walls. It has a double portal and semicircular 
arches, and a handsome entablature enriched by Corinthian 

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capitals. The sides of the valley of Jehoshaphat here are very 
steep, and upon the other bank of the dry bed of the brook 
Kedron is seen the reputed Grarden of Gethsemane, with its 
very ancient olive tt-ees. Continuing our walk, we noticed 
that a small Turkish cemetery extended between the path 
and the lofty walls, and at one or two of the tombs there 
were gathered family groups bewailing the dead. All along 
this part of the wall, as far as the south-east angle, very 
massive, finely-hewn stones are observed, some of them nearly 
20 feet long and 7 feet high, and the * chief comer-stones ' 
are of still larger dimensions. Near this angle of the wall, 
on the opposite side of the valley of Jehoshaphat, are seen 
the tombs of Absalom, St. James, and Zechariah ; and the 
whole slopes of the valley from this point are covered with 
the white tombstones, merely laid flat upon the ground, which 
point out the resting-places of many generations of Jews. 

Our path now skirted the south wall over the ridge of the 
hill Ophel, which overhangs the pool of Siloam and the 
fountain of the Virgin, not far from the village of the same 
name. Having passed this point, from which we got a distant 
view of the blue mountains of Moab, we now crossed the de- 
pression known as the Tyropoeon Valley, and near which is 
the foundation of a great arch, discovered by Dr. Eobinson, 
that once spanned the valley. This arch formerly led from 
the Temple platform to Mount Zion, and was the scene of 
the parley between Titus and the last heroic defenders of the 
stronghold of King David. This part of the city is now the 
Jewish quarter, while beyond it, on the extreme summit of 

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Mount Zion, the Armenians congregate. We re-entered the 
city by the Zion gate, having thus made the circuit of almost 
the entire walls of Jerusalem, except the western portion, 
overhanging the valley of Hinnom. Near this gate a small 
colony of lepers have established themselves, as they are 
not permitted to mingle with the inhabitants, and they lie 
about on the waste ground below the walls, wretched-looking 
objects, on whom the traveller may well bestow a small dona- 
tion. The handsome Armenian convent, situated on Mount 
Zion, should certainly be visited. It contains accommodation 
for nearly 3,000 pilgrims, besides quarters for the monks 
and students who attend the seminary established of late 
years within its walls. The convent was founded by the 
Georgians, to whom it formerly belonged, in the eleventh cen- 
tury, and the church of St. James, erected upon the reputed 
site of the martyrdom of that apostle, is the largest, except 
the Holy Sepulchre, in the city. TTpon entering, the tra- 
veller will be struck both by the richness and want of taste 
in the decorations of the church. The lower parts of the 
walls and pillars are covered with coarse porcelain tiles, but 
the woodwork is richly gilt, and some of the panelling is 
veneered with tortoise-shell and mother-of-pearl, which has a 
curious effect. A number of wretched oil-paintings hang on 
the walls, and numerous ostrich eggs and shabby oil lamps 
are suspended from the roof. There are sundry relics of ex- 
tremely dubious authenticity, exhibited for the edification of 
the credulous, and crowds of pilgrims were streaming in and 
out of the narrow portals of the church. 

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At tUs season Jerosalem is thronged with pilgrims from 
all parts of the oriental world, who come to celebrate the 
Easter services in the Holy City. Wherever we went we 
met numbers of them, and especially do they congregate in 
and about the church of the Holy Sepulchre. Next day, 
being Good Friday, we went to service in the English 
church, and found a large congregation assembled. The 
first part of the service was in English, conducted by an 
Anglican clergyman, and then a baptismal service, in German, 
was held, at which five young men were admitted into church 
membership by the bishop's assistant, who subsequently 
preached the sermon in English^ The bishop himself read 
the communion service, but took no other part in the 
conducting of worship. There were a number of English 
present, amongst whom I recognised several Cairo friends. 
After service, Mr. Ashton and I walked down the Via Dolorosa, 
a narrow street conducting from the church of the Sepulchre 
through the heart of the city. TTp this street Our Saviour 
is reputed to have walked on His way from Pilate's Judg- 
ment HaU to Mount Calvary, and the monks have placed the 
scenes of various striking incidents in this mournful progress 
of Our Lord at different parts of the steep, uneven road. 
There is the spot where He was scourged ; the spot where 
Pilate brought Him forth and said, ' Behold the man; ' the 
wall against which He leaned, fainting under the cross ; the 
scene of His faUing again, when a handkerchief was pre- 
sented by Saint Yeronica and miraculously retained the 

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impression of His features ; besides other traditional * holy 
places ' of equal authenticity. 

From this we proceeded to the Jews* place of wailing, 
which is situated at the extreme eastern end of the Jewish 
quarter, where it meets the wall of the Haram, not far from 
the spring of the before-mentioned arch over the Tyropceon 
Valley. It is an oblong piece of pavement, having on one 
side a low modem wall, and on the other the massive, vener- 
able stones of the ancient wall surrounding the Temple. 
Here the Jews of both sexes assemble, and with their faces 
turned to the old walls, so sacred in their eyes, they moan 
in a low tone over their lost glory and state of bondage, 
occasionally kissing the stones in their paroxysms of grief. 
I must confess I was not specially impressed with the spec- 
tacle, which appeared to me a very formal act of mechanical 
sorrow, without any great reality or moumfulness about it. 
The men, who seemed to be Spanish and Polish Jews, were 
seated with their backs against the modern wall, and they 
read passages from the Psalms in a monotonous voice, while 
a few women were seen silently bending over the ancient 

We now turned our steps towards Siloam, passing out of 
the city through the so-called Dung Gkite, and descending 
the Tyropceon Valley, soon reached the celebrated pool. It 
is in a ruinous condition^ its sides falling in, and the stair- 
case leading down to the water rapidly crumbling away. 
The pool is about 60 feet long and 20 deep, and a stream of 
clear water, emerging from a dark arched recess at one end. 

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covers the bottom to a depth of a few inches. This archway 
xjondncts by a narrow low passage, which was traversed 
with great difficulty by Dr. Eobinson, to the fountain of the 
Virgin, a distance of 1,760 feet. Proceeding from this spot 
up the dry bed of the Eledron, we examined the four tombs 
of Absalom, Zechariah, St. James, and Jehoshaphat. They 
are hewn in the rock, and are of considerable size, that 
of Absalom being 54 feet in height, and its square sides 
measure 22 feet each way. Externally it is decorated 
with columns and pilasters, surmounted by a lofty cylindrical 
apex, which comes to a point representing a tuft of palm 
leaves. From the cornice upwards the monument is con- 
structed of masonry, and its lower part is hollowed out into 
a chamber 8 feet square, half-full of stones thrown into it, 
through an aperture, by all devout Jews who pass this way. 
The other three tombs have no very specially interesting 
architectural features, and the great antiquity attributed to 
some of them rests on doubtful authority. 

Still keeping up the valley of Jehoshaphat, we reached, at a 
point in the slope of the Mount of Olives, nearly opposite the 
Golden Gate, one of the most profoundly touching and sacred 
of all the sites around Jerusalem, the Gurden of Gethsemane. 
It is a square enclosure, surrounded by a high white wall, 
over which are seen the dw:k and venerable forms of the 
olive trees, eight in number, which for hundreds of years 
have shaded the reputed scene of Our Saviour's agony. 
Whether this is the very identical spot where Our Lord 
endured His terrible woe, matters comparatively little, for it 

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is certain that it must have been, if not here, only a short 
distance either up or down the valley. Bnt surely no Chris- 
tian who realises the truth of the awful events which took 
place in this retired spot, can fail to approach it without 
feelings of intense and reverential interest. A Latin monk 
conducts you round the garden, in whose walls, with wretched 
taste, there have recently been erected several praying 
stations of the usual Eoman Catholic type adorned with 
tawdry pictures protected by glass. The monk also shows 
you, a few paces beyond, the * Grotto of Agony,' and the 
identical places where the apostles fell asleep while their 
Master was praying in His agony. 

Having arranged to ride to Bethlehem on the following 
day about noon, we devoted the morning to a visit to the 
mosque of Omar. You get admission through the British 
Consul, Mr. Moore, whose invariable courtesy to all tra- 
vellers who pay him a visit is so well known. He sends a 
^Kawass,' as the consular official is termed, who arranges 
matters with the guards at the gates, and sees that you are 
not annoyed by any fanatical Turk. Unluckily it was a 
pouring wet morning, one of the two wet days which we had 
during our entire tour, but we made the best of it. An old 
gateway admits to the great interior square of the Haram, 
the undoubted site of the Temple area, and the spot where 
Solomon's magnificent edifice once stood. At the first 
glance, the immense enclosure, 1,630 feet by 922, looks like 
a great grassy park, with ancient buildings on all sides, and 
the noble octagonal mosque in the centre. Although a 

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large portion of the area is paved, the grass springs up 
so abundantly between the stones that it has quite a fresh, 
verdant look. We are now traversing Mount Moriah, and 
under that fine dome is the naked summit of the rock, the 
actual threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite. 

The great mosque of Omar, as the vast dome crowning 
the highest part of the enclosure is called, is approached by 
a handsome staircase, which conducts to a platform raised 
above that we have just traversed. I must admit a feeling 
of disappointment with the mosque, which, though very 
large, has not the solid, majestic appearance of the grand 
Christian fanes of Europe. The mosque was popularly 
supposed to have been founded by Caliph Omar when he 
entered the city after a long siege at the head of his Moslem 
army in the year 636. The story goes that he enquired 
where the Jewish temple stood, and being directed to 
Mount Moriah, he gave orders to erect a mosque there, right 
over the sacred pinnacle of rock. To the Moslem chief Abd- 
el-Melek is now generally ascribed the erection of the famous 
Kubbet-es-Sakhra, or *Dome of the Eock,' a.d. 686. It is 
octagonal in shape, each side measuring 67 feet, and the 
lower portions of the walls are composed of slabs of marble, 
above which is a covering of bright-coloured glazed tiles, the 
whole crowned with a dome of wood covered with lead, and 
surmounted by a gilt crescent. Many parts of the exterior 
have a dilapidated look, from some of the slabs of marble and 
arabesque tiles having fiillen away. The interior is 148 feet 
in diameter, and is exceedingly dark, so that it is difficult to 

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see the dimensions to good effect. Two concentric rows of 
colnmns support the roof, and light is gained by fifty-six 
pointed windows filled with rich stained glass, and there 
is a profusion of gilding throughout the interior. Probably 
some of the columns and marble slabs formed part of the 
decorations of Herod's palace. 

Bight under the dome is seen the naked irregular surface 
of the rock, which once was the site of the great altar of 
burnt offering. This, the veritable 'threshing-floor of 
Araunah,' is surrounded with a low wall of marble, and here, 
as marking the site of their former temple, the Jews were 
accustomed to wail during the fourth century. The surface 
of the rock is about 60 feet across and 5 feet high, and it 
has always been looked upon as a peculiarly sacred spot in 
Moslem eyes. We descended to the cave or grotto below, 
which is nearly 7 feet high, and is supposed to have been a 
sort of reservoir for receiving the blood and water from the 
altar of burnt offering above. 

Prom this point we now proceeded to examine the fine 
mosque El Aksa, at the south-west comer of the Haram en- 
closure. It is supposed to have originally been built as a 
basilica by Justinian in the middle of the sixth century, but 
it has certainly been considerably altered by Moslem archi- 
tects. Fergusson, however, maintains that the structure is 
entirely Mohammedan, having been built by Caliph Abd-el- 
Melek at the close of the seventh century. It has the form 
of a basilica of seven aisles, and is 272 feet long by 184 feet 
wide, the roof being supported by forty-five massive columns. 

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The interior ia plain, the roof being merely beams ol rongh 
wood, and the whole building inside is spoilt throngh the fine 
pillars and stones being whitewashed over. Four different 
orders of architecture are observed in the capitals, several of 
the Corinthian ones being of white marble. We descended 
to a vault below the pavement, where are to be seen some 
very ancient-looking pillars and immense stones in the walls, 
apparently forming part of the Temple platform. 

It was past one o^clock when we set off on horseback for 
Bethlehem, accompanied by Mr. TJngar, who kindly acted as 
our guide. We followed the same route as on our entry into 
Jerusalem, and turned off the road to Hebron, not £ax from 
SachePs tomb. The hill-sides all around the city of the 
Nativity of Our Lord are covered with green terraces, where 
olives, vines and fig trees grow in profusion. The town 
occupies the ridge of a hill, and its flat-roofed houses are 
huddled close together, after the true Eastern fashion* It 
has a population of over 4,000 inhabitants, who are all 
Christians, and the women are celebrated for their beauty. 
Many hallowed associations cluster round this romantically* 
situated town. Here the touching incident of Kuth*s sojourn 
will be remembered, and on these green hill-sides the youthful 
David kept his father's sheep, and at a subsequent period he 
refused to drink of the water of the famous well near the city, 
which his faithful followers had succeeded in procuring, 
though the Philistine army lay around the place. The ruth- 
less Herod crimsoned the streets of Bethlehem with the blood 
of the massacred children, when a great cry was heard, 


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* lamentation, and weeping, and great monming.' And 
here One was bom into the world, amidst the lowliest sur- 
roundings, though an angel host heralded His advent with 
song of joy, who was to save unto the uttermost all ^ who 
came to Him through faith.' 

The church of the Nativity, an enormous grey pile of 
masonry, and the oldest Christian building in the world, was 
built by the Empress Helena, the mother of Constantine, in 
the year 327. It is divided into a nave 120 feet long, and 
double aisles on each side ; the columns are of marble, and 
the walls were once adorned with rich mosaics. The basilica 
is unfortunately common property among the Greek, Latin 
and Armenian churches, consequently it is neglected, and 
much out of repair in some parts. There are several chapels 
at the east end, from which you descend to the grotto said 
to be the actual birthplace of Our Saviour. It is a low 
vault, hewn in the rock, about 38 feet long by 11 feet wide, 
and it seems difficult to believe that it was once connected 
with an inn or caravansery. The manger is entirely con- 
cealed by a slab of marble, shaped somewhat like an altar, 
with sides and a ledge in front, so as to preserve the tradi- 
tional form. A silver star in the pavement denotes the spot 
where Our Lord was thus, laid in His lowly cradle, and an 
inscription in Latin says, * Here Jesus Christ was born of the 
Virgin Mary.' Sixteen silver lamps are hung over the 
manger, and the whole surface of the rock is concealed by 
heavy brocaded silk cloth. There were many pilgrims throng- 
ing in and out of the sacred grotto, who knelt down with 

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most reverent devotion and kissed the surface of the marble, 
and often breathed forth a fervent prayer while on their 
knees. No one can see this spot without emotion, which, 
whether the time site or not, has at any rate been the object 
of devout pilgrimages on the part of countless multitudes for 
more than fifteen centuries. 

Other sacred places are shown to visitors ; the * milk-grotto,' 
where the Virgin and child were concealed from the fury of 
Herod ; the chapel of Joseph, and the altar of the Innocents, 
erected over the spot where the children butchered by Herod 
were buried ; but we did not stop long to examine them. It 
rained most of the way back to Jerusalem, as it had in fact 
done during the entire day, so I was not sorry to regain the 
comfortable shelter of our lodgings. 

The following day was Sunday, and before morning service 
on Mount Zion, I visited the church of the Holy Sepulchre, 
where numerous pilgrims of all nations were assembled in 
great crowds. This venerable building was originally com- 
menced by Constantine a.d. 826, and the fabric he erected 
was totally destroyed by the Persians in 614. Sixteen yean3 
later it was rebuilt, and was considerably larger than the 
first structure, says Porter, * to accommodate the additional 
holy places that were gradually growing up round the 
sepulchre.' This second church, however, was destroyed in 
the year 1010 by Caliph Hakim, and another series of build- 
ings was erected in 1048 over the site. The Crusaders, in 
1099, remodelled the church, and added many new shrines. 
They also rebuilt the Botunda, and placed a church on the 


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eastern side, on the site of Constantine's basilica. The 
western fa9ade, with the present doorway and tower, were 
then bnilt, and the chapel over Gtolgotha. Unfortunately, in 
1808, a fire broke out in the Armenian chapel, and amongst 
other damage done, the roof of the Botunda fell in upon the 
sepulchre, which was not injured internally however. The 
cupola also was rent in two, the roof of the chui'ch on the east 
destroyed, and other injuries caused, but the whole was care- 
fully repaired in 1810 under the direction of a Greek architect. 
A strange sight the pavement in front of the church exhi- 
bits at this season. Innumerable pilgrims congregate there, 
busily employed in purchasing relics from the vendors of such 
things as rosaries, beads, olive-wood ornaments made of 
wood grown at sundry spots of sacred ground, glass trinkets 
from Hebron, turquoise brooches, crosses innumerable, be- 
sides fruit, cakes, sweetmeats, and sundry other articles of 
merchandise. The fa9ade.of the church is best seen from 
this court, and it has a very venerable appearance, much 
crumbled away in its upper parts, and the fine campamle is 
rich with sculptured decorations. The tower originally had 
five stories, but is now reduced to three, and the principal 
doorway into the church is in its lowest story. This is a 
double doorway, adorned with a rich architrave, finely moulded 
arches, and a r^Kevo representing Our Lord*s triumphant 
entry into Jerusalem. Turkish soldiers are here stationed to 
keep order among the crowds of pilgrims, who sometimes 
quarrel with one another, and passing them you find yourself 
before the * Stone of Unction,* a slab of marble, with a railing 

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round it, covering the stone on which the body of Our Lord 
was anointed. Turning to the left you enter the Eotunda, 
67 feet in diameter, and surmounted by a lofty dome, which 
is supported on eighteen strong piers. The dome was built 
about five years ago, and is richly gilt and painted of a pale 
blue colour. Under the centre of the dome stands the Holy 
Sepulchre, covered over with a fabric of yellow and white 
stone, decorated with pillars and pilasters, and itself sur- 
mounted with a dome. You enter first the * chapel of the 
Angel,' where the heavenly messenger rested after rolling 
away the stone from the sepulchre. A small narrow doorway 
leads into the sepulchiie itself, which is a square vault, about 
6 feet each way, lighted up by the subdued rays of forty-three 
silver lamps, which are always kept burning. On the right 
is a marble ledge, about 2 feet high, fashioned somewhat 
like an altar, but sufficiently large to receive a human body, 
and here the body of Om* Lord is said to have rested. A 
marble slab, with a crack right across its surface, covers the 
actual excavation in the rock, and the lips of countless 
pilgrims have worn away the hard stone. Many rich and 
costly offerings are seen in glass cases overhanging the altar, 
and a priest keeps watch over this sacred spot. 

Subdued and solemn must be the feelings with which most 
men gaze upon a scene whose associations are of so awfully 
sacred a nature. However unsatisfactory the evidence un- 
doubtedly is on which the tradition rests that here once lay 
the body of Our Blessed Lord, still there is an indefinable 
sanctity cast around the spot to which the steps of the 

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enthusiastic and the pious have ever been directed since the 
dawn of Christianity upon the world. Upon the more impul- 
sive Eastern nature the impression produced by the sight of 
that smooth, worn marble slab is often overpowering. Rev- 
erently approaching it on bended knees, they kiss the marble 
over and over again, their tears bedewing it the while, and 
many a vow and prayer are there uttered of which death 
alone will mar the falfilment. But it is difficult to linger 
long in this spot, for a crowd of pilgrims were stationed at 
the entrance, all eager to enter and behold where lay the 
body of their Lord. 

It is impossible to attempt a description of the innumerable 
so-called saqred places which monkish superstition has located 
under the roof of the church of the Sepulchre. The scene of 
almost every incident which took place during the last day 
of Our Lord upon earth, before His resurrection, has been 
crowded under one roof. I will only refer to Golgotha, the 
* place of a skull,' known to us as Mount Calvary, upon which 
a chapel is erected belonging to the Greeks, where is seen 
the cavity in the rock that held the cross. You ascend by 
a flight of stairs, and find yourself on the pavement covering 
the rock at an elevation of about 15 feet above the aisle of 
the church. At the eastern end of this pavement is an altar, 
beneath which a square aperture in the marble floor, covered 
with a silver grating, is seen, and within this is alleged to be 
the cavity in the rock where the cross stood. You are also 
shown the holes for the crosses of the thieves, and the rent 
made in the rock by the earthquake which occurred on tliat 

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awful day. The end of the chapel is a perfect blaze of costly 
offerings of a most elaborate nature — gold crosses, crucifixes, 
shields shaped like hearts, and other emblematical devices, 
are seen hanging in glass cases, besides many gems of great 
lustre and valne. Inside one large case is a figure of the 
Virgin, loaded with splendid offerings of diamonds, emeralds, 
and other precions stones. Here also were many pilgrims 
prostrating themselves before the altar and weeping over the 
supposed site of the cross. 

After service in the Anglican church, we walked to the 
Protestant burying-gronnd, on the extreme verge of Mount 
Zion, overhanging the valley of Hinnom. There are very 
few English tombs, one of the most noticeable being to the 
memory of Bishop Alexander, the first prelate who occupied 
the see of Jerusalem. Returning again to the quarter of the 
city where we lodged, we set off to examine the Tombs of 
the Kings, outside the Damascus gate. These are interest- 
ing, though not presenting any special external feature, ex- 
cept a portion of what once must have been a highly orna- 
mental frieze and cornice. The interior, to which access is 
gained by a low arched doorway cut in the rook, consists of 
a confused mass of small chambers opening out of one large 
halL From this point we skirted the old walls and ascended 
to the summit of the Mount of Olives, getting a fine view of 
the entire city and environs on our way. The church of the 
Ascension, a modern building of small dimensions, and utterly 
devoid of interest, will not detain you long, and the absurdity 
of placing the scene here, when we are expressly told in Luke 

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that it took place at Bethany, is palpable to all. Not far 
from this spot a very interesting and elegant building has, 
•within the last year or two, been erected by a pious French 
lady, the Princess De la Tour D'Auvergne, to conunemorate 
the giving of the Lord's Prayer to the disciples. The build- 
ing, which is built of fine white stone, is quadrangular in 
form, with a corered corridor, supported by graceful pillars, 
running round the interior open court. On the walls of 
this corridor are a series of tablets of glazed tiles, thiriy-one 
in number, surrounded with an appropriate ornamental scroll 
or moulding. These tablets contain the Lord's Prayer in 
thirty-one different languages. Attached to the building is 
a small chapel, and a handsome tomb, adorned with a re- 
cumbent marble figure of the Princess, is placed against the 
side wall. 

We now descended the Mount of Olives and visited the 
Tombs of the Prophets, situated in a field a short way down 
the hill. You enter a cave in the ground, and then go 
through a low aperture which leads to several narrow open- 
ings, where the bodies of the prophets may once have lain. 
Our guide assured us that he once penetrated one of these 
tunnels, vnth an American gentleman of an enquiring mind, 
a sufficient distance to occupy them eight hours altogether. 
We did not extend our walk any farther, but returned to our 
lodgings, rather fatigued with the sultry heat of the day, 
and made some preparations for our proposed journey next 
morning to Jericho and the Dead Sea. 

At nine o'clock next morning we started, attended by our 

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faithful dragoman, our muleteers or muTcharis, with their 
head man, a fine portly jovial specimen of his class, and 
one or two Arab protectors, as it is considered prudent to 
be accompanied by some of the supposed guardians of that 
part of Judsea. In addition to our three selves, our party 
consisted of Mr. J. Coysgarne Sim, of Coombe Wood, well 
known in the * City ' as head of an old-established firm, and 
a French gentleman, M. Poullard, with whom he had been 
travelling for a few days past. The day looked somewhat 
doubtful, but we only had two or three showers, after which 
it was as fine as possible. We left by St. Stephen's Gate, 
and skirted the slope of Olivet until we reached Bethany, 
a collection of poor hovels, picturesquely enough situated 
amidst vineyards and olive trees. You are shown the tra- 
ditional house of Mary and Martha and the tomb of Lazarus, 
the latter situated at the end of a long and steep flight of 
stairs, which penetrate the earth for some distance. The 
house of the Sisters of Bethany is a mere heap of old stones, 
capitals, and portions of columns piled one above another, so 
as to form an appearance like the walls of a house. A very 
cursory examination of these two sites contented us, and we 
resumed our journey. We rested for an hour at Khan-el- 
Ahmah, where are some extensive ruins of an old caravansary, 
and found four or five other parties scattered about the ruins 
preparing for luncheon. Our way from this point lay be- 
tween tolerably high, grassy mountains, with fringes of culti- 
vation at their base. We met numerous Arabs and inhabit- 
ants of Jerusalem on the road, which is a much-frequented 

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one, and somewhat in better order than most of the tracks 
of Palestine. At length we caught sight of the great plain 
of Jericho through an opening in the hills, a little beyond 
the grand ravine called the Wady Kelt. This is a very deep 
glen, with precipitous sides of bare rock, in some parts of 
which grottoes may be observed that once sheltered ancho- 
rites of old. 

The plain of the Jordan now is seen, extending right across 
from Jericho to the opposite ridge of loffcy mountains, a broad 
flat expanse, with the green banks of the river sunk in a sort 
of hollow running along the centre of the plain. Our camp- 
ing-place was not at the usual spot selected by most visitors 
to the site of Jericho, near the village of Biha, but was a 
mile or more nearer the river, which we were anxious to 
reach in good time next day. We walked to some rising 
ground, where you get a most extensive viev of the plain 
and distant waters of the Dead Sea. There we found a 
regular congregation of tents occupied by sundry parties of 
English, Americans, Germans, and French, each nationality 
being distinguished by their flag. I encountered several 
frjiends among the occupants of the tents ; one of them, an 
accomplished artist, whose facile brush was busily at work 
sketching the plain. The view is very beautiful; in the 
foreground a strip of green, with quantities of shrubs and 
trees, the broad valley beyond, with the rugged mountains 
of Moab which bound the plain, and the blue waters of the 
Dead Sea on the extreme right. 

Next morning we made a very early start, and had a plea- 

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sant ride across the plain to the Jordan, which is quite con- 
cealed from riew till yon are within a hundred yards of it. 
(llie plain is smooth, with quantities of little thorny shrubs 
growing in it, but as we approached the river, the depression 
through which the latter runs becomes visible* Bushes 
and small trees grow thickly on its sandy surface, and the 
verge of the stream is densely clothed with an almost im- 
penetrable thicket of willows, oleanders, fig and other trees. 
The stream itself is confined between clay banks, and is a 
rapid, rushing, muddy river, about twenty or thirty yards 
broad. We bathed our hands and heads in the water, and 
drank some of it, though it has not a particularly agreeable 
taste. As all travellers do, we brought away several bottles 
full of its water, and cut sundry sticks as mementoes of our 


visit, after which we took our departure for the Dead Sea. 
An hour or so brought us to the margin of the great lake, 
our ears, as we skirted the rapid stream, being regaled with 
the trilling of many nightingales, concealed amidst the green 
thickets. Beautifully sparkling in the morning sun rays, 
the vmters of this bitter sea had a fresh, inviting look of cool- 
ness that was irresistible. We were very soon enjoying the 
novel sei^sation of bathing in a sea in which it is utterly im- 
possible to sink. To the taste, the waters have that horribly 
acrid, burning flavour which every traveller has described, but 
its strand is white and pebbly, and has not the sulphurous, 
deadly, and desolate look which I expected. 

The sea is forty-six miles long and ten miles wide, and has 
no outlet for its waters, which are reduced in volume solely by 

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evaporation. The Jordan, the Amon, and other streams of 
considerable size, empty themselves into its bitter waters, 
besides the innumerable watercourses from Moab, the Arabah 
and the hill country of Judaea. Yet all this influx of water 
has no perceptible effect upon the appearance of the sea. 
Towards its southern end the wicked cities of the plain 
were once supposed to have stood, but various theories 
on this point have found favour with diffSerent travellers. 
We were, however, obliged to content ourselves with a short 
stay on the shores of this strange sea, as the sun was now 
excessively hot, and we were anxious to get back in good 
time to Jerusalem. 

Our course now lay across the dry and desolate plain, 
stretching from the margin of the lake up to the white lime- 
stone hills of Judeea. There were a good many varieties 
of shrubs, one of them, the sea-pink, with its pale red 
flower, being very abundant. The sun now beat down upon 
our devoted heads with a force which was overpowering, and 
we were very glad to gain the lower slopes of the mountains 
in front, where more air was stirring. As we toiled up the 
steep path, we frequently stopped to survey the noble pros- 
pect presented by that broad valley, with the green thread 
running along its centre, denoting the course of the sacred 
river. There is nothing of interest in the bare white hill- 
sides up which we now were toiling, for scarcely a shrub or 
tuft of grass is to be seen. Towards mid-day we reached a 
building of some size, in tolerably good condition but seem- 
ingly deserted, though one or two Arabs, after a while. 

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appeared. We entered a gateway and found a paved court- 
yard beyond, with a structure somewhat like a mosque in 
the centre. As we had plenty of shade here, we spread our 
lunch upon the pavement, passing an hour very pleasantly, 
although our dragoman was not quite certain that we were 
not intruding on forbidden ground. This shrine or sanctuary 
is called Neby Musa, the grave of Moses, who, according to 
Moslem tradition, is buried here. Prom this point our way 
lay over a waste of rocky ridges and bare hill-sides, until we 
came down upon the green slopes of cultivated ground in the 
vicinity of Bethany. This village looked very peaceful and 
beautiful in the quiet evening light, and we would fain have 
lingered awhile to muse over the sacred associations of the 

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HAYiNa finished our preparations, we bade farewell to Jeru- 
salem on Wednesday morning, April 3, after a very brief 
sojourn, wbicli was barely sufficient to enable us to see a few 
of the more prominent spots mentioned in sacred history* 
We were also joined by Mr. Sim, whose excellent company 
I had previously enjoyed in Egypt, and our dragoman pro- 
vided us with an additional tent in consequence. I paid a 
visit once more to the church of the Sepulchre before leaving, 
and saw it to more advantage, as there happened to be very 
few pilgrims about. We left the city by the Damascus gate, 
and followed the miserable stony track which leads over the 
hill Scopus through a most bleak, uninteresting landscape. 
The misty mountains of Gilead were seen in the far distance, 
and turning to the west the most conspicuous peak was Neby 
Samwil, the ancient Mizpeh. Prom this point we passed 
close to the sites of numerous places mentioned in Scripture. 
One of the first of these is Nob, where David received the 
shewbread from Ahimelech the priest, who was afterwards 
slain by Doeg the Edomite. On a small eminence not far 

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from this are the supposed ruins of Gibeah of Saul, the 
birthplace of Israel's first king. Farther to the north, 
some ancient fragments of stones, built into the modem 
hoyels of a village, are supposed to be remains of Ramah. 

The next place of note we passed is Bethel, situated about 
half a mile on our right, on a bare hill-side. This is one of the 
places most frequently mentioned as the scene of many stir- 
ring events, and it is one of the oldest cities in Canaan. Here 
Jacob's vision took place, to commemorate which he set up 
his pillar, and Samuel judged Israel in this place. Jeroboam 
also set up his worship of the golden calf at this sacred spot, 
though righteous priests were, after the Babylonish captivity, 
found in Bethel to teach the worship of Jehovah. The ruins 
of a Greek church and a huge cistern are the chief remains 
of antiquity to be seen in Bethel, otherwise it is a miserable 
village of mud hovels. We were now passing through the 
hill country of Benjamin, a barren, rocky territory, but pre- 
sently entered upon the more fertile inheritance of Joseph, 
known as Ephraim, or Samaria. Now the slopes of the 
hills began to wear a rich and cultivated look, and plantations 
of olives and fig trees, enclosed in spaces like orchards, gave 
softness to the landscape. Presently we found ourselves in 
a winding valley, clothed with grassy banks and green corn- 
fields, and soon after this came in sight of Ain Tebrfld, a 
most picturesquely-situated village, on the brow of a wooded 

From this point we now descended a steep ravine, by a 
very rugged and rocky path, having hills on both sides, 

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terraced and cultivated with olives, vines, and fig trees. At 
the foot of this ravine we found ourselves in a sequestered 
wooded glade, with fine old trees on all sides and rich green 
turf under foot. In a narrow valley a little beyond this is 
the * Bobber's Fountain,' a large massively-constructed reser- 
voir or tank, much dilapidated in some parts. This place 
has a particularly bad reputation, and our dragoman hurried 
us past it, especially as it was growing late^ and our camp 
was still a long way off. In fact, it was quite dark when 
we reached the tents, which were pitched high up on a bleak 
hill-side, near the village of SinjiL This village has several 
curious old square towers, apparently remains of some im* 
portant building, round which the wretched hovels of the 
inhabitants have been erected. From this we descended on 
the following morning to the very rich plain, near which one 
of the most interesting Bible sites is to be seen — that of 

To Dr. Bobinson belongs the merit of discovering the true 
situation of Shiloh, which had forn^erly been placed at Neby 
SamwiL Here Joshua set up the Tabernacle before the con- 
gregation of Israel, and here it remained for 800 years, till 
the sons of Eli carried it to battle against the Philistines, 
when it was captured. Their old father fell back dead here 
when the news was brought him of the Ark of God being 
taken and his two sons slain. It fell into obscurity after the 
death of Eli, and now presents an utterly deserted look of 
desolation. Some grassy knolls, strewn with old stones, mark 
the site of Shiloh, and high hills surround it on all sides, 

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except where the valley opens to the south. There are two 
distinct ruins of ancient buildings remaining, one of them 
shadowed by a noble old terebinth tree, the sole one to be 
seen. One of these buildings is of small extent, square, with 
massive walls of stones, and on its north side had seemingly 
been strengthened by heavy buttresses of a later date than 
the walls. Over the doorway is a large stone, with two altars 
sculptured on it in relief, one at each end 5 next there are 
some wreaths of flowers, and in the middle a vase of classical 
form. Tristram supposes that this may have been a mediseval 
fortress church. The other building is a few hundred yards 
distant, and is simply a square tower externally, with massive 
old walls. A low door admits to a curious chamber inside, 
which appears at one time to have been used as a chapel. 
Two columns support the roof, which has a Gothic character, 
but the capitals of the pillars are Ionic, and seem too small 
for the shafts. 

From this point we rode along the cornfields in the 
hollow of the valley until we rejoined the main road to 
Nablous. For a while it winds through a green plain sur- 
rounded with dark hills, and we observed several small ham- 
lets on the hill-sides, with the ruins of one or two khans, or 
castles. The valley, whose narrow course we now followed, 
has a cultivated, fertile look, and we stopped for lunch in 
the midst of very rich cornfields, near the village of Hawara. 
Near this we had crossed over a rocky ridge in the hills, from 
the summit of which we gained a most extensive view. The 
plain is seen extending for some miles in front, one rich 


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billowy green expanse, with clamps of fine old olive trees 
scattered over its surface. A range of low hills bound the 
plain on the right, on the left is the rugged form of Mount 
Oerizim where stood the sanctuary of the Samaritans, with 
Mount Ebal beyond, and far away to the distant north is 
seen the dome-like, snow-clad summit of Hermon. This is 
the fertile plain of Shechem, and there is a richness and 
soft beauty about it which is in striking contrast with the 
sterility and barrenness of Judsea. 

We determined to ascend to the summit of Mount Gerizim 
before entering Nablous, so hired a guide from Eawara, who 
took us by a pathway, leading from the main road, a short 
distance from the village. Travellers almost invariably as- 
cend the mountain from Nablous, but ours was a more expe- 
ditious way, and an easy enough ascent. After a pretty 
steep climb, we stood on the highest point, close to the ex- 
tensive ruins of the Samaritan temple. The view is unques- 
tionably very fine. A conftised mass of dark mountains, 
stretching all along the eastern side of the Jordan valley 
until they join on to the peaks around Hermon, whose snowy 
summit towers above all, bounds one side of the picture. 
On the other side the blue Mediterranean is seen, with a 
broad belt of sand intervening between the green plain of 
Sharon and the sea. Bound about us are the mountains of 
Ephraim, and the fertile plain of Shechem at the base of 
Gerizim. On the opposite side of the valley in which Nablous 
is situated, the rugged, barren form of Mount Ebal, the 
* Mount of Cursings,' arises. 

The ruins of the Samaritan temple occupy an extensive 

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portion of ground, and took us some time to examine. A 
large rectangular enclosure first claims attention, 255 feet by 
240 feet, surrounded by walls nearly 6 feet thick and 12 feet 
high in some parts. The remains of square towers are to be 
seen at the comers, upon one of which a white Mohammedan 
mosque has been erected. The ruins of an octagonal build- 
ing, said by Captain Wilson, who explored the ruins some 
years ago, to be the church of the Virgin, are seen near the 
centre of the large enclosure. This building probably is a 
part of the fortress ei'ected on Mount Gterizim by the Emperor 
Justinian to protect the Christian church from the attacks of 
the Samaritans, and there are traces of a solid platform of 
massive stones below, which may once have supported the 
Samaritan temple. There is another large enclosure near 
this, divided into three compartments, with massive walls 
and flanking towers, seemingly of Boman construction. The 
line of great slabs, which the Samaritans hold to be the twelve 
stones of the tribes brought up by Joshua from the Jordan, 
are seen at the ba^e of the wall of the larger enclosure. This, 
however, is extremely doubtful, and in all probability these 
massive stones were the foundation of the Eoman fortress. 
To the south is the Samaritan * Holy of Holies,* a long slop- 
ing bare rock, with a deep pit at its end. To this all devout 
Samaritans turn in prayer, and they take off their shoes as 
they approach this spot. Here, according to their tradition, 
Abraham was about to offer up Isaac as a sacrifice ; here he 
met Melchisedec; Jacob had his heavenly vision on this 
place ; and on it the Ark was set up. 

V 2 

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We yisited the scene of the Samaritan feast of the Passaver, 
to the east of the ruins, a mere trench built of rough stones « 
with a circular pit in which the lambs are roasted. The 
whole communitj, now 134 in number, assemble and encamp 
near this spot. Towards sunset^ a few men in white surplices 
recite a form of prayer near the pit, after which they proceed 
to make the fire ready for roasting the lambs. After a while 
they are joined by all the full-grown men, who also take part 
in the prostrations and prayers which continue till near 
sunset. At the moment of sunset, the priest repeats rapidly 
the words of the 12th chapter of Exodus, in which the 
assembly of Israel are directed to kill the passover. The 
lambs are killed while the priest is speaking, and after being 
carefully skinned and cleanec^ their bodies are placed in the 
oven formed in the pit, and kept till thoroughly roasted. 
When all is ready, the corering of the pit is opened up, and 
the bodies of the sheep drawn out one by one, and placed on 
brown mai» previously prepared for their reception. They 
are taken to the trench and laid out in line between the two 
files of the Samaritans, who now have shoes on their feet 
and staves in their hands, as directed in the sacred ordinance. 
After a further short recitation of prayers, they suddenly all 
seat themselves on the ground, and commence to eat silently 
and rapidly, until the whole is consumed. 

The origin of the Samaritans is narrated in the Second 
Book of Kings. The colonists, who had been placed by the 
Assyrians in the cities of Canaan when Israel was carried 
away into captivity, attributed the pest of wild animals with 

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which they were infested to their ignorance of the worship 
of the gods of the land. They petitioned for Jewish priests 
to instruct them, and some strangers did come who professed 
to teach the Mosaic law, but in after times the true Jews of 
Jerusalem utterly refused to hold any communion with these 
impious dwellers in Samaria, who had embraced a mutilated 
creed. The Samaritans therefore resolved to erect a 
sanctuary of their own upon Mount Gerizim, and this was 
done under the supervision of their high priest Manasseh, 
who had married a daughter of SanbaJlat, to the great 
displeasure of Nehemiah. He brought with him a copy of 
the law of Moses, no doubt the original of the copy of the 
Pentateuch which the Samaritans boast is of such immense 
antiquity. This was about the year 420 B.C., and from this 
date may be considered the rise of Shechem as the capital 
of the Samaritan sect. The Jews always had a bitter hatred 
to the Samaritans, and they attacked their temple with an 
army under John Hyrcanus, and completely destroyed it. 

During the reign of Vespasian, Shechem was rebuilt and 
called 'Neapolis,' which has been gradually changed into 
Nablous. The city surrendered to the Moslem invaders of 
Syria, and suffered considerably during the wars between 
them and the Crusaders. Its Samaritan inhabitants dwell 
here, scarcely attracting the most cursory notice from 
travellers or historians, and their literature is of the 
scantiest description. The copy of the Pentateuch, a col- 
lection of hynms, a manuscript professing to be the Book of 
Joshua, a few commentaries on the Law, and a history of their 

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nation from the Exodus to Mahomet, are all thej possess, 
according to Porter. He gives a minute description of the 
celebrated copy of the Pentateuch, which is a roll 15 inches 
wide, and from 20 to 30 yards long, made of coarse parch- 
ment, very old and stained in appearance. It is rolled upon 
two rods, and the writing is in transverse columns, each 
column 13 inches long by 7 wide, and containing 70 lines. 
There are 110 columns in all ; the characters arQ of the old 
Samaritan type, and many parts bear traces of correction or 
change. Porter judges from the vellum and character of the 
writing that the sixth or seventh century of the Christian era 
is about the date it was written. The Samaritans declare it 
was written by Abishua, the son of Phinehas, 3,500 years 
ago. /^They hold their venerable Pentateuch to be the 
divine standard" of faith and morality. They believe in one 
God and in one law-^ver and prophet, Moses ; also in the 
advent of a Messiah, who is, however, to be merely a human 
being. The resurrection of the body and a belief in future 
rewards and punishment is held by them, and they observe 
all the great feasts enjoined in the Pentateuch. Their 
Sabbath begins at sunset on Friday, and on Saturday they 
have three services of worship in the synagogue. 

We now descended to the city, after inspecting the exten- 
sive ruins on the summit of Mount Gerizim, but before 
entering it, turned aside to see one of the most deeply 
interesting spots in Palestine. This is Jacob's Well, at the 
entrance of the valley of Shechem, and where Our Lord held 
that remarkable discourse with the woman of Samaria which 

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is narrated in the 4th chapter of St. John's Gospel. There 
are several ruined buildings about the weD, which is covered 
over with a vaulted chamber, in the floor of which the mouth 
of the well is seen. This is undoubtedly the spot where Our 
Saviour sat and talked with the woman on His journey from 
Judcea, for here was the * deep ' well at the base of Gerizim, 
to which the woman evidently referred when she said, * Our 
fathers worshipped in this mountain.' This, then, is the 
parcel of ground that Jacob bought of Hamor, the &ther of 
Shechem, where he erected his altar and sank a well. The 
vaulted chamber is part of a Christian church, built in the 
fourth century over this sacred spot, and which subsequently 
became a ruin. There is an air of complete solitude and 
seclusion from the haunts of men about the scene that gives 
it an especial charm, for here you can calmly meditate upon 
the gracious words Our Lord spoke to that sinftd woman. 

The yellow rays of the declining sun lit up the grey 
mouldering walls of this ancient city as we slowly rode 
into it through an old gateway. There appeared to be some 
festival, or fantasia as it is called, going on, for a great 
number of the inhabitants were amusing themselves under 
the shade of some old olive-trees at the foot of Gerizim. 
The women and children were mostly clad in white garments, 
and there were various games and amusements for the 
children, whose cries of delight and merriment were heard 
from afar. The town itself struck us as being very ancient, 
with its arched doorways and smooth stone fronts to the 
houses, some of them with fragments of columns and capitals 

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built into the walls. The bazaars were crowded gloomy 
alleys full of a busy, fierce-looking population, who hardly 
took the trouble to glance up at us as we passed along. 
They have a bad character for turbulence and lawlessness, 
and are particularly hostile to strangers. Our camp was 
pitched on a plateau of land, on the Samaria side of the 
ciiy, near a running stream, surrounded with fine old trees. 
The present city stands on the right side of Neapolis and of 
the original city of Sychar, just above the watershed of the 
valley. The stream near which our tents were pitohed 
descends from Mount Gerizim, and after passing through 
the city, flows in a westerly course along the fertile valley 
towards Samaria. This valley is filled with a succession of 
beautiful gardens, in which may be seen the olive, the fig, 
the bright green walnut, the pomegranate with its rich 
crimson flower, the thorn, terebinth and sycamore trees, 
whose combined verdure give to Nablous its peculiar charm 
of situation. 

Accompanied by a guide, we set off to visit the Samaritan 
synagogue, a modem building with rough whitewashed walls, 
their ancient one having long ago been taken by the Moslems. 
It is approached through dirty tortuous streete, and the 
building itself has very dark narrow entrances and passages. 
The interior of the synagogue is mean-looking, but you are 
not permitted to enter. The rabbi brought out, and placed 
on a chair near the door for us to look at, the ancient copy 
of the Pentateuch, which is an old-looking roll of vellum, 
with a richly-inladd metal case, the whole enveloped in a 

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thick silk coYering, also finely embossed and decorated. 
We were only allowed a very hurried glance at the sacred 
roU, and were then taken by onr portly and consequential 
Samaritan goide to the roof of his house, from which a good 
view of the town is obtained* 

After dinner that day we were favoured with a visit from 
the Bev* Mr. El Karey, of the Palestine Christian Union 
Mission, an agreeable, chatty young Syrian, who has been 
here for seven or eight years* He seems to have rather 
uphill work of it at Nablous, and has but a poor opinion of 
the Samaritans* His work is amongst the Moslem popula- 
tion, and he has about thirty resident converts, though some- 
times nearly a hundred persons assemble when he preaches. 
He says that the Samaritans are annually diminishing in 
number, and that there is great fighting amongst the young 
men for brides, owing to the limited numbers available. We 
were rather disenchanted by his assuring us that the copy of 
the Pentateuch we saw was not the veritable old one, which 
they dare not show to strangers unless a large sum of money 
was paid. In the original, it seems, they have altered the 
name of the mountain of worship, substituting Gerizim in its 
place. Our reverend guest enjoyed a glass of claret and a cigar, 
and sent us a large melon as a present afber his departure. 

Next morning we were off by seven o'clock, and followed 
the valley for some distance, after which we struck up the 
hill-side and came down upon a beautifully-wooded glen, 
at the foot of the heights on which Samaria stands. Passed 
several old villages on both sides of our track, all of them 

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characterised by those cttrious square buildings, and by nine 
o'clock we mounted the steep ascent to the ancient and 
celebrated city of Samaria. It is placed on a commanding 
situation, with a lofty range of hills behind, and the small 
plain of Samaria at its foot, which opens out again on to 
the great plain of Sharon. Two other ranges of hills encircle 
the plain of Samaria, so that the city is almost surrounded 
by mountains. The ground slopes away on all sides from the 
city, and valley, plain, and mountain-side are alike covered 
with cultivated fields and olive-groves. 

The city was first built by Omri, who bought the site firom 
Shemer, after whom he named the place. His wicked son 
Ahab afterwards erected there a splendid temple to Baal, 
and during his reign it was besieged by the Syrians, when 
Benhadad, King of Damascus, with his immense army, were 
defeated by a small number of Israelites. Elijah and Elisha 
both lived here and worked many miracles, and at the pool 
of Samaria the dogs licked the blood of Ahab, as the prophet 
had foretold. Here Elisha received the visit of Naaman, 
and here he led the Syrian troops, stricken with blindness, 
into the heart of the city. In the year 720 B.C. Samaria 
was taken by the Assyrians, when the Samaritans removed 
to the more ancient city of Sychar. The city was afterwards 
takeu by Alexander, by John Hyrcanus, and by Pompey, 
and was finally given to Herod the Great by Augustus. 
Herod recolonised the city and adorned it with splendid 
palaces, theatres and temples, and changed its name to 
Sebaste, by the Arabic form of which, Sebustiyeh, it is now 

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known. It became the seat of a Christian bishopric in the 
time of the Cmsaders, as is seen by the remains of the 
church which they founded. 

On ascending from the wooded glade, the first object 
which is seen is the ruin of the church of St. John the 
Baptist, standing on the brow of the eastern face of the hill. 
The tomb of the Baptist is shown, and here, it is alleged, he 
was beheaded. The style of the architecture of the church 
indicates that it was built during the Crusades, and two 
faces of the exterior walls are in good preservation. The 
massive stones are smoothly hewn, and the altar niche is 
richly ornamented. The church is now roofless, and part of 
it has been converted into a mosque. The hill rises in 
terraces above the plain, but it is now entirely under the 
plough, so that the stones and columns of Herod's magni- 
ficent temple have been mostly removed. Still a few of these 
do remain, and as we wound our way through the village, 
followed by tribes of children clamouring for baehsheeshy we 
saw many evidences of buried ruins in the olive-gardens and 
cornfields which now occupy the site of the city. Portions 
of columns, sometimes half-imbedded in the earth, occasion- 
ally a single shaft without the capital standing upright under 
a venerable tree, then perhaps four or five columns in a 
row, with a few yaixls between each, or others built into a 
dyke round one of the gardens, attest the former grandeur 
of Samaria. 

We ascended to the highest point of the hill, and had a most 
extensive and beautiful view over the richly-cultivated slopes, 

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dotted with groups of olive trees, the great green plain of 
Sharon, and the bine sea beyond. The eye ranges over a 
number of Scriptural sites of the deepest interest. Looking 
towards the sea Dothan is seen, where Joseph was sent to 
seek his brethren, and where he was thrown into a pit by 
them ; to the north Mount Carmel, the scene of Elijah's 
grand achievements, is visible ; farther to the north-east is 
the snowy dome of Hermon, and in the foreground the fertile 
valleys around Samaria, the theatre of heroic victories by 
the mighty men of Israel. 

From this we once more descended to the valley, and held 
on our way past many ruined villages and towns which 
crowned the slopes of the lower hills. A succession of 
windings through the hills brought us to the long flat plain, 
which once was a lake, and now is covered with rich crops, 
called the * Drowning Meadow.' As it has no outlet, the 
waters from the surrounding hills gather in the rainy season 
into a lake, which partially covers the great basin. On an 
eminence at the west side of the meadow stands the remains 
of an ancient fortress, still in good preservation, called 
Sanur, once belonging to a powerful sheikh, who exercised 
feudal rule over the surrounding district until, in 1880, he 
was driven out by Abdullah Pasha. The family, however, 
still survives, for some of them are again in their old haunts, 
and the fortress has been repaired to a certain extent. 

This flat plain or meadow is several miles long, and is 
terminated at its northern extremity by a rocky ridge, over 
which we crossed, getting a fine view of the great plain of 

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Esdraelon. Prom this point our route lay through narrow 
circling valleys, filled with rich herbage and endless beautiful 
varieties of wild flowers. In these valleys the heroic Gideon 
commenced his glorious career, and led his army through 
them against the Midianites, who were encamped at Jezreel. 
They are characterised by a peaceful and still air of pastoral 
life, not a village is to be seen, and only a stray flock of sheep 
cropping the scented herbage which so thickly carpets the 
ground. Our camping-place was Jenin, the ancient En- 
gannim, a town of some 8,000 inhabitants, who have by no 
means a good reputation. It is situated on a rising ground 
projecting into the plain, and its white summits and dome- 
roofed houses are seen in striking contrast with the dark 
foliage of olive and orange trees, mingled with a few palma, 
which STurround the town. 

It was a beautiful evening as we pitched our tents, and 
the setting sun streamed across the broad plain of Esdraelon 
with fine effect. From a knoU near the tents we had an ex- 
cellent view of the plain, with the mountains of Gilboa on 
the right, beyond which is the detached form of the Litlb 
Hermon, and the conical outline of Mount Tabor slill farlLor 
back. It was thought desirable, owing to the very indiffprent 
character of the inhabitants of Jenin, that we should have 
a guard, who accordingly ensconced themselves outside our 
tents. There was a large French party of ten or twelve 
gentlemen, with two or three priests among them, encamped 
near our tents. We made an early start the following 
morning to get well across the plain before the sun grew 

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oppressively hot, and we very soon were cantering over its 
great rich level surface. 

The plain of Esdraelon is one of the most celebrated 
scenes in the Holy Land, and has from remote ages been the 
battlefield where many mighty hosts have contended. The 
plain is triangular in shape, and its extreme length is about 
25 miles, while from Jenin to the mountains near Nazareth 
it is perhaps 16 miles broad. To the eye it presents a great 
green level expanse, undulating in some parts, and marked 
with grassy hillocks and occasional deserted villages in its 
more cultivated parts. But very little of this rich plain is 
cultivated ; the greater part is one gently undulating surface 
of fine pasture — the chosen grazing-grotmd of the wild 
Arab, who has little scruple in appropriating the grain 
which the peasants from the hill country near at hand have 
vainly tried to gather in. No fences or boundaries are to be 
seen, and the aspect of the country is deserted and neglected, 
the tall thistles and brilliantly-coloured wild flowers of 
Palestine flourishing in uncontrolled luxuriance. In spring 
the plain is a billowy mass of waving verdure, with hardly a 
single tree to form a feature in the landscape. This fertile 
expanse of territory was the heritage of Issachar, once one 
of the chief tribes of Israel, though afterwards it sunk into 
dependence upon Zebulun which possessed part of Galilee. 

Esdraelon was the great battlefield of the Jewish nation 
after they gained possession of Palestine. Here Sisera, with 
his 900 chariots of iron, was overthrown by Barak, while the 
prophetess Deborah gave the signal of battle from MQunt 

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Tabor. That ' ancient river, the river Kishon,' swept away 
the Canaanites before the victorious hosts of Israel. Here 
Gideon, with his gallant 300, * faint, yet pursuing,' overthrew 
the Midianites near Mount Gilboa, when the discomfited 
host fled away to the Jordan. Another great battle — this 
time the result was disastrous to Israel — took place on the 
slopes of Gilboa, when Saul and Jonathan were utterly over- 
thrown by the Philistines. Yet again was the invader 
victorious when the king of Egypt, in the days of Josiah, 
encountered in the * plain of Megiddo ' the chosen wurriors 
of Judah; and their monarch, sore wounded by an archer, 
was carried to Jerusalem to die. 

The mind dwelt upon these stirring associations as we 
rode along that rich plain beside great patches of wheat, 
bearded like barley and well-formed in the ear, while each 
step we took now was in the footsteps of mighty warriors of 
old. In about two hours' time we reached Zer^in, the ancient 
Jezreel, now but a poor village, on the top of a rising knoll, 
with a square tower at its highest point. From the wretched 
flat-roofed hovels forming the village, a fine view is got of 
Mount Carmel, Gilboa, where feU the unhappy king of 
Israel, the lulls of Samaria to the south, and those round 
Galilee to the north. This spot was once the capital of 
Israel, though no trace of its former splendour remains save 
a few half-buried marble sarcophagi. Here dwelt Ahab the 
wicked king, and from the towers of the palace the watch- 
man, looking towards the Jordan across tho coveted vine- 
yard of Naboth, saw the chariot of Jehu who was advancing 

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furiously to destroy the infamous Jezebel. We did not 
linger long in this spot, but descended to the plain again, 
riding through great quantities of a beautiful purple flower 
which covered the grassy slope. 

Striking across the arm of the plain where the Philis- 
tines drove the Israelites to the slopes of Gilboa, which 
is seen on the right crowned with a village on its highest 
crest peopled by dervishes, we soon reached the village 
of Solem, the ancient Shunem. The touching story of 
Elisha and the woman of Shunem at once will occur to the 
reader, and in those very fields was her beloved son at 
work when he was struck to the ground. It is a collec- 
tion of poor mud hovels, surrounded with thick hedges of 
prickly pear. Prom it we passed along the base of the Little 
Hermon, and presently came in sight of Mount Tabor, a 
beautiful mountain, shaped like a bent bow, its sides richly 
clothed with verdure and trees. Half-way between Tabor 
and Shunem we came to the site of the village of Nain, 
where Our Lord restored to life the widow's son, and here we 
rested for an hour. It stands on the bare slope of the hill, 
and there are traces of buildings which show that it must 
once have been a waUed town of some size. There is an old 
tomb outside the village, with a large tree near it, which 
affords a grateful shade to travellers, who usually stop here 
for some refreshment. Here we fell in with an American 
party, with whom was a dragoman from Alexandria, who 
had been strongly recommended to me before leaving Eng- 
land. This gentleman seemed to have an exalted idea of his 

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own capabilities, and had all the swagger and boasting talk 
of jonr genuine oriental dragoman* 

As we intended to ascend to the top of Mount Tabor 
before encamping at Nazareth, we did not delay long, but 
soon found ourselyes at the foot of this deeply interesting 
mountain. Leaving our horses at its base, we slowly toiled 
up its steep sides by a well-defined track, occupying nearly 
an hour in the ascent. The sides of Tabor are covered with 
green trees — the fig, walnut, evergreen oak, arbutus, and 
many others, which give it a peculiarly rich, verdant appear- 
ance. The summit of the mountain is a long sloping 
plateau, covered with trees and quantities of ancient ruins. 
At the east end of the summit stands a newly-constructed 
Greek church and convent, with nothing of interest inside. 
The ruins are highly picturesque, and are part of fortifications 
and a monastery erected here by the Crusaders, though some 
Soman and Jewish remains also are to be seen. Tabor is 
1,400 feet above the plain, and the view from it is certainly 
one of the most deeply interesting in all Palestine. On the 
north side the adjacent mountains meet the lower slopes of 
Tabor, a succession of undulating grassy glades, thickly 
clothed with trees like the park scenery of England, and the 
great dome of Hermon is in the distance. On the extreme 
eastern horizon we see the long dim range of mountains 
beyond Gilead and Bashan, with the table-land intervening 
between them and the heights above the Sea of Galilee, of 
whose waters we got a glimpse. From Galilee we can trace 
the Jordan valley almost to the Dead Sea ; and on the south 

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we have Gilboa, Little Hermon, and the hills of Samaria. 
All rotmd the base of Tabor to the south and west is the 
plain of Esdraelon, while towards the Mediterranean are 
seen Mount Carmel and the low hills near Nazareth. What 
innumerable spots, celebrated in sacred history, do we now 
survey ! what mighty names recur to memory ! — Gideon, 
Saul, David, and other men of valour, the dauntless Elijah, 
* the chariot of Israel and the horsemen- thereof,* Elisha and 
the prophets, imtil the majestic array culminates in the 
blessed Eedeemer Himself, whose early dwelling-place is so 
near at hand I 

Eeluctantly leaving the spot from whence the grand 
panorama above described is seen, we descended the moun- 
tain and rode slowly towards Nazareth. Our path lay along 
the side of grassy, rolling hills dotted with trees, on which 
the sun's declining rays lingered, lighting up the calm land- 
scape with their mellow lustre. As we approached the home 
where Our Saviour dwelt, all the landscape felt so silent and 
peaceful, that I seemed to experience more of those solemn 
emotions which such a scene must suggest, than in the fre- 
quented spots where monkish superstition has seized hold of 
every available traditional site on which to erect a costly 
shrine. Our tents were pitched near the Greek church out- 
side the town, and not far from the public well where the 
inhabitants mostly assemble. 

The following day being Sunday, we did not attempt to 
move away from Nazareth, but rested quietly. We attended 
service in the handsome new Gothic church which has been 

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erected for the Bey* John ISeller, who has for nearly fifbeen 
years ministered to the spiritual wants of the Protestant 
population. The contributions to build this really elegant 
church chiefly came from England, though Germany also 
gave good help. There was a most attentive congregation of 
native Christians, about 100 in number, most of whom were 
men, though a few women occupied one of the galleries. 
The service was in Arabic, conducted by a deacon belonging 
to the place, who also preached a good long sermon. The 
singing, accompanied by the organ, was very fair, and the 
utmost decorum prevailed throughout the service. Inside 
the church looks very neat, the benches, painting, and decor- 
ations all being the work of native artists. We had the 
pleasure of making both Mr. and Mrs. Zeller's acquaintance, 
and spent part of the evening with them at their house. 

Nazareth is situated on the steep side of the circling lime- 
stone hills which bound the plain of Esdraelon, and it is 
surrounded by ridges, on whose slopes are green cornfields, 
gardens, and olive-groves. The hill on which it is built is 
very steep, as may be seen from the precipitous rocks form- 
ing the sides of some of the streets, and the houses are 
almost all of white stone. At the back of the town is a hill, 
about 400 feet above the plain, from whose summit an ex- 
tensive view is gained, and travellers have tried to identify 
this with the * Mount of Precipitation.' There are no build- 
ings in Nazareth of special interest, the principal one being 
the Latin convent which stands on a slope of the hill at the 
outskirts of the town. The interior is squai-e, divided into 


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nave and aisles, and a broad flight of stairs leads down to 
the sanctuary, cased with marble and hung with silver lamps, 
in which the Annunciation of the birth of Our Lord was made 
to the Virgin Mary. From this grotto, as it really is, you 
ascend by steps to a cave said to be the Virgin's kitchen, of 
which the fireplace still remains. A few minutes' walk from 
this is the * Fountain of the Virgin,' where the Greeks have 
placed their * Church of the Annunciation,' as they allege 
that the angel appeared to her when she was drawing water. 
This is a favourite spot for the women of the place assembling 
to draw water, accompanied by their little ones. The maidens 
of Nazareth are famed for their beauty and the peculiarity 
of their costume, which is a close-fitting jacket and long 
white veil, with a curious roll of silver coins^round the fiwe. 
It is supposed that Nazareth has a population of 5,000, of 
whom 700 are Protestants ; and it is the chief commercial 
centre of Gralilee. Tristram says thab *the trade of the place 
arises chiefly from its being the mart of exchange between 
the exporting merchants of Acre and CaiflEa for Europe, and 
the wild Bedawin sheep-masters and sheikhs, who can ride 
here from the Jordan and transact their business without 
giving the Turkish officials time to intercept or molest them.' 
Accompanied by Mr. Zeller, we ascended to the hill above 
the town, passing through the dirty narrow streets and 
emerging upon a beautiful grassy slope decked with nume- 
rous pretty wild flowers, and many oak, flg, and pomegranate 
trees. Very peaceful and lovely the surrounding landscape 
looked in the soft evening light, all hallowed as it was by 

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the memory of Him who passed so many years of His life on 
earth in this secluded spot. At the top of the hill is a minons . 
Moslem tomb, and from this there is a most commanding 
view, a good deal similar to that from the summit of Mount 
Tabor. There are the peats of Hermon, Tabor, and Gilboa, 
with the ancient towns at its base, the great plain where so 
many battles decisive of the fate of Israel were fought, but 
in addition there is the entire range of Mount Carmel, with 
a long line of white sea-coast, and the wooded glades and 
green vales at the back of Nazareth. We had the pleasure 
of Mr. Zeller's company at dinner, and he gave us some 
interesting information about his Christian mission work. 
Most of his congregation are proselytes from the Greek and 
Latin Churches, with sometimes an occasional Jewish convert. 
No Mohammedan, it seems, could become a Christian with- 
out forfeiting his life in the long run ; Mr. Zeller has some- 
times enquirers amongst them, but rarely an open conversion. 
He has great difficulty in inducing women to go to church, 
but they willingly come to his house and talk to him and 
Mrs. Zeller upon religious subjects ; this they do regularly 
every week. 

This whole district is miserably misgoverned by the Turks, 
as the Pashas do just as they like in the way of levying new 
taxes, seizing men for soldiers, and other arbitrary acts. We 
heard one specimen of the way these Turkish officials do 
things. The Pasha of Damascus, to pay off a loan for certain 
purposes which he had contracted from a Jew, sold to the 
latter one-half of the plain of Esdraelon for the sum of 

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10,000?., the annual revenue which it yielded being no less 
than 6,000Z. The Sultan, however, it seems, refused to ratify 
the bargain. Nominally, the people of the district are con- 
sulted as to taxes being imposed, for the Pasha goes through 
the form of assembling them together, and requesting them 
to a£Sx their names and seals to the decree, and this they 
dare not refuse to do. If there is an election of head man 
for a district, and the person chosen is displeasing to the 
Pasha, he quietly alters the numbers so as to put in his own 
nominee. Taxes are levied even upon the Bedawin through 
the sheikhs, who are charged a certain rate for the number 
of horsemen of each tribe, although they take good care to 
recoup themselves. But the same stories of mis^ovemment 
and tyranny are current everywhere throughout the wide 
Turkish dominions. 

We left Nazareth by six o'clock the following morning, 
and reached Kefr Kenna, the supposed Cana of Galilee, in 
little more than two hours. It is a small village, mostly in- 
habited by Christians, situated on the side of a valley full of 
fig, olive, and other trees. There is a half-ruined church, in 
which are shown one or two of the waterpots of stone said to 
have been used by Our Lord when He made the water into 
wine. The waterpot is much more like a drinking-trough 
fixed into the wall, with a hole in it for the water to escape 
by ; but it is evidently very old. Our road from this now 
led through a succession of shallow, well- cultivated valleys, 
which lead to the rich, rolling, grassy plains above the Lake 
of Tiberias. There are a good many signs of prosperity here. 

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for you see the peasants at work ploughing the fields with a 
rude implement drawn by oxen; others watching their flocks, 
and an occasional garden or orchard of olives is passed. Not 
far from this we passed the curious bare hill called the 
* Horns of Hattin/ near which the Crusaders sustained a 
disastrous defeat by Saladin in 1187, and this led to the 
entire reconquest of the Holy Land by the Moslems. 

At last we caught sight of the still Lake of Gulilee, em- 
bosomed amid grassy mountains, and gazed upon the fayourite 
scene of Our Saviour's blessed labours of love. Very calm 
it looked, with the reflections of the mountains sleeping in 
its deep waters, across which no sail was to be seen wooing 
the passing breeze ; all seemed dead and deserted. Except 
the town of Tiberias, hardly a human habitation is to be met 
with around its once thickly populated shores. The great 
cities in which Jesus preached, Chorazin, Bethsaida, Caper- 
naum, and others, have all passed into oblivion, hardly one 
stone left upon another to point out to the passing traveller 
where so many proud buildings once lifted up their heads 
aloft. Those hill-sides formerly teemed with a large popula- 
tion, and now aflford pasturage but for a few flocks of sheep 
and goats. On those silent shores great crowds were wont 
to gather together and listen to the gracious words of the 
Man of Sorrows. Here, at any rate, we may gaze with satis- 
faction upon the chief scene of Our Lord's ministration, 
without being offended by all the monkish paraphernalia so 
obtrusive in most of the sacred localities of Palestine. 

The Lake of Tiberias is nearly 18 miles long by 7 miles 

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wide, and is 655 feet below the level of the Mediterranean. 
It is exceedingly deep and swarms with fish, which are little 
troubled by the dwellers in Tiberias. Formerly there was a 
great fisher population, who plied their vocation in hundreds 
of boats, but now only an occasional fisherman may be seen 
throwing his cast-net from the shore into the placid lake. 
In some places the mountains rise up precipitously from the 
margin of the lake, almost to a height of 2,000 feet. The 
hollow in which it lies is bounded by the hills of Galilee on 
the west and those of Bashan on the east. On the western 
side the hills approach close to the lake, and their grassy 
slopes are decked with an infinite variety of lovely wild 
flowers. The town of Tiberias is placed at a bend in the 
shore, on a small plateau of land, and it was founded by 
Herod Antipas, who beheaded John the Baptist in prison, 
about the year a.d. 16. It is rectangular in form and sur- 
rounded with a wall and towers ; but these are in a very 
ruinous condition. Some remains of the ancient city are to 
be seen in the large hewn stones and fragments of columns 
strewn along the margin of the lake, besides many marble 
columns, ancient walls. Soman pavements, and traces of 
villas, which are met with a little way from the town. 

Tiberias became the seat of the Jewish Sanhedrim in the 
middle of the second century, and has always been regarded 
by the Jews as one of the four holy cities of Palestine — 
Jerusalem, Safed, and Hebron sharing this honour with it. 
For three centuries it continued to be the metropolis of the 
Jews and their chief dwelling-place, but it was captured 

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successively by the Persians, by the Arabs, and by the 
Crusaders under Tancred. Many of the famous rabbis are 
buried in the hill-side at the back of the town, among them 
Babbi Zacharias, the author of the Jerusalem Talmud. At 
present the population is almost entirely Mohammedan and 
Jewish ; of the latter people there may be about 800 souls, 
with a few Protestant families. In 1887 there was a terrible 
earthquake, which greatly injured the town and fortifications, 
making wide rents in the latter that have never been repaired. 
Two miles south of the town are the hot baths, which have 
a temperature of 144° Fahr., and are supposed to be effica- 
cious for curing rheumatism and debility. The water wells 
up from the ground in four springs, and has a bitter, salt 
taste, with a strong sulphurous smelL 

We arrived at the town about mid-day, and took up our 
quarters in the va<3ant space within the fortifications, where 
travellers usually encamp. The lake was about 100 yards 
below us, and we commanded a fine view of its unruffled 
surface shimmering under the hot sunshine. Being too hot 
for much active exertion, I enjoyed the luxury of a bathe, 
which was most refreshing. After this I strolled about the 
ruined walls and towers, and then tried to make my way 
through the tortuous lanes of the town, but got involved in 
a labyrinth of narrow streets. I got into the Jewish quarter 
and passed by some houses with the windows wide open, so 
that I could see what was going on inside. In all of them 
the women appeared to be engaged in sewing dresses or knit- 
ting fancy work of some kind, but they seemed to be angry 

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at my inspecting their operations and motioned me away. 
They were generally young and good-looking and dressed 
in the picturesque costume, now getting out of fashion seem- 
ingly, the full zouave-like trousers and long blue or white 
veil reaching almost to their heels. I thought it better not 
to pursue my 'investigationB much fartiier, as I might have 
difficulty in finding my way out of the intricacies of this 
ancient city. It continued very hot all the afternoon and 
evening until towards nine o'clock, when it commenced to 
blow excessively hard. 

The following morning looked very doubtful at first, but 
the weather soon cleared up, and we had a bright breezy day 
to pursue our journey along the shores of the lake. For 
more than three miles the hills rise up precipitously from the 
water's edge, their grassy slopes decked with many brilliantly- 
tinted wild flowers, especially the splendid scarlet anemone, 
the purple convolvolus, gaudy tulips, the yellow ranunculus, 
and a finely-coloured purple flower like a hollyhock. IVing- 
ing the yellow strand are quantities of oleanders, their pink 
blossoms in full beauty, and at each promontory we got 
charming views of the ever-winding shores of the lake. We 
presently came to the miserable littlo village called Mejdel, 
the ancient M^dala, the home of Mary whose touching 
devotion to Our Lord called forth His special commendation. 
The strand near this village consists of a fine white gravel, 
filled with immense numbers of most minute and beautiful 
little shells, of which we picked up a quantity. From the 
ridge above Magdala there is a fine view of the rich plain of 

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Gtennesareth, carpeted with wild flowers and watered by 
several small streams, beyond which the Gulilean mountains 
rise upwards in successive ranges to a height of almost 
4,000 feet above the lake. Amidst these hills the holy city 
of Safed, the supposed ^ city set on an hill/ occupies a 
commanding site. Turning to the winding shore of Qalilee, 
the probable sites of Capernaum, Bethsaida, and Chorazin 
succeed one another, though, in fulfilment of Our Saviour's 
prediction, nothing remains of them now save a few shape- 
less mounds. 

After passing Magdala, we came to an old ruinous water- 
mill, still apparently worked by the Arabs, some of whom 
live near this spot. A little way beyond this there is an 
ancient polygonal reservoir, which seemed once to have been 
used for purposes of irrigation ; and near tliis is the ruinous 
Saracenic Khan, built for the accommodation of caravans 
between Damascus and Egypt. This is Khan Minyeh, and 
it has been strongly upheld by Sobinson to be the true site 
of Capernaum,* though Captain Wilson, Bitter, and others 
give the preference to Tell Hum, a few miles farther along 
the shores of the lake. There are many ruined buildings at 
the latter place, but they are difficult of access, owing to the 
thickets of thistles surrounding them. The principal ruin, 
called the White Synagogue, is built of white limestone, and 
many fragments of capitals and columns have recently been 
brought to light. 

On the shore, close to Khan Minyeh, is a fountain, shaded 
by fig trees, called Ain-et-Tin, with a copious supply of 

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beantiM clear water welling forth from the rocks. This 
place has a wild and secluded look about it, and here we 
rested awhile to enjoy the view and inspect the many traces 
of ruins in all directions. It is plain, from various passages 
in the Evangelists Mark and John, that Capernaum was in 
the land of Gennesaret, and as Tell Hum is not in that ^land,' 
while Ehan Minyeh is, the preference must be given to the 
latter place. We learn from Josephus that there was a 
celebrated fountain at Capernaum, for the spring bore the 
name of the town, and there is a very fine one at Khan 
Minyeh above mentioned. Near this fountain also there are 
numerous heaps of stones and rubbish, covering a space of 
several acres, proving that an ancient city once stood there, 
which may well have been Capernaum. There is farther an 
isolated, terraced hill, 300 feet high, rising above the level 
ground at Khan Minyeh; and this, when covered with build- 
ings, of which traces are to be found, must have given an 
' exalted ' appearance to the town. The whole arguments 
are found most clearly set forth in Dr. Eobert Buchanan's 
admirably-written work on the Holy Land. 

Soon after leaving this we reached Khan Jubb Yusuf, the 
' Khan of Joseph's Well,' so called. Porter says, from the 
tradition that here Joseph was thrown into a well by his 
brethren. By taking this route we were unable to follow 
the windings of the lake until we reached the mouth of the 
Jordan, which, as is well known, enters Tiberias at its north- 
em extremity and flows out at the other end. The river 
enters by two mouths with a gentle current, previously pass- 

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ing through a fertile meadow fringed with oleanders which 
extends for a mile and a half above the lake. Prom the walls 
of Khan Tusuf we took our farewell look at the peaceful 
waters of Galilee and its silent shores, along which Our 
Blessed Eedeemer so often wandered, accompanied by His 
disciples. On those flower-decked, grassy slopes, '^some of 
His most striking parables had been spoken, and those now 
calm waters once were stilled to as perfect repose, though 
the instant before they had raged furiously at the command 
of Him who spake as * never man spake/ 

The Ehan is a large modem building, with a spacious 
court in the centre surrounded with vaulted chambers, the 
whole very solidly constructed. It is used for sheltering 
cattle and goats, but is quite deserted generally. From this 
point the road runs across a very rough tract of partially 
cultivated country, having the Safed Mountains on one side 
and the Jordan Valley to the right hand. In some places, 
however, the ground was literally covered with a beautiful 
blue flower, which our friend Mr. Sim called campwnula ; 
and many other species of wild flowers were to be seen. 
There were also numbers of storks, with long white bodies 
and wings tipped with black, that appeared very tame, for 
they did not fly away on our approach. On our right hand 
we had the broad flat plain through which the Jordan flows, 
with Luke Huleh, spoken of in Holy Writ as the * Waters of 
Merom,' in the centre. The lake is 4^ miles long by 3^, and 
is surrounded by an extensive tract of marsh land, covered 
with cane thickets, beyond which the plain is fertile and 

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cnltiyatecL This rich plain attracts the Bedawin, who pitch 
their tents npon it, and some of the Damascus merchants 
employ labourers to till a portion of the soil. Lake Huleh 
is mentioned in the Old Testament as Merom, where Joshua 
smote Jabin, King of Hazor, and the district near it must 
be an unhealthy and malaria-stricken spot. 

Our tents were pitched near the mountain -side, at a place 
called Ain Mell&hah, near a large fountain springing from a 
natural reservoir. A lively stream flows from this down to 
the Jordan through the marshy plain, which is noted for 
wild swine at this part. During the night we had a thunder- 
storm, accompanied with heavy rain, and we were disturbed 
from our slumbers by the head m/ukhary coming to move 
our beds away from the sides of the tent, as the rain threat- 
ened to come in. It looked very doubtful next morning 
whether we could move on or not ; but we made a start, 
and the day, after all, turned out bright and breezy. Our 
way now lay alongside the base of the mountains, with the 
great alluvial plain of the Jordan on our right hand. We 
kept on for nearly three hours, still having the hills of 
Kedesh Naphtali on our left hand, on one of whose ridges 
the towers of Hunin are to be seen. The plain here is 
ploughed by wild-looking buflFaloes, yoked to a rude plough, 
and driven by miserable Arabs whose wretched tents may be 
seen in the distance. Our ears were delighted all the morn- 
ing with the music of the familiar lark, ^ at heaven's gate 
singing,' and the flowers were numerous and pretty, con- 
spicuous amongst them being the lupin, with its purple 

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blossom. Passed a large encampment of Tnrkisli soldiers 
ftom Damascns, whose horses were picketed at intervals on 
the borders of rich fields of clover and green pasturage. 

After crossing several small streams which ran into Lake 
Huleh; we at length came to a feeder of the Jordan, all 
closed in with luxuriant alder, oak, and other green trees. 
Very glad we were once more to hear its rushing waters, 
whose sources are near the base of Hermon, some ten miles 
farther north. This stream courses through a prettily- 
wooded ravine, and is partially hidden by the willows, syca- 
mores, and mountain ash trees, which flourish luxuriantly 
near an old bridge with pointed Saracenic arches, that spans 
the flood. The bridge is in a semi-ruinous condition and has 
no parapets, but it forms a picturesque object for a sketcher's 
pencil. Another hour's ride along a very rough road brought 
us to the remarkable round mass of basaltic tufa^ called 
Tell-el-Kady, from which issues one of the sources of the 
Jordan. The water rushes out in a broad rapid stream from 
the base of the hill, forming a dark eddying pool so over- 
grown with green bushes and underwood that it is not easy 
to see its full extent. 

This is a remarkable spot, which is believed to be the Dan 
of Scripture, and marks the site of the northern frontier 
town of the land of Israel. Here Abraham overcame Che- 
dorlaomer, who had plundered the cities of the plain ; and 
here the 600 men from Dan fell upon the colonists from 
Zidon, who had built a city at this place, and utterly de- 
stroyed it. And at this fountain also the impious Jeroboam 

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set ap one of his golden calves for the people to worship, so 
as to suit the convenience of the northern tribes and keep 
them £rom going to Jerusalem. A little way from the Tell 
are two noble old oak trees, one of them having a venerable 
trunk of great circumference, and there are many fragments 
of ruins scattered about. But we now found ourselves in a 
richly-wooded glade, which all travellers agree in describing 
as having quite the look of English park scenery. There is 
abundant green turf, overshadowed by many stately oaks, 
olives, hawthorns, mulberry and pomegranate trees, poplars, 
and other kinds, which give a beautifuUy-clothed and ver- 
dant appearance to the spot ; and towering over all is the 
majestic Hermon, its snow-clad summit now hidden by 
clouds, and its rugged sides clothed with clustering forest 
trees down to the plain. 

Our resting-place for the night is Banias, which stands on 
a broad terrace surrounded with rushing torrents and vener- 
able olive and oak trees. This is the ancient Csesarea 
Philippi, the city adorned by the splendour-loving Herod, 
and where Peter confessed tibe Divinity of Our Lord. The 
modem village is a vn^tched place, with poor mud hovels, 
surmounted by arbours made of wood and boughs of trees, 
in which the inhabitants live during the summer, to escape 
from scorpions and other noxious reptiles. All round about 
are seen the ruins of the ancient city that stood between 
two ravines, through which course the principal source of 
the Jordan and a smaller mountain stream. A fosse en- 
compassed part of the city, and it was surrounded by walls 

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of solid masonry, with towers and bastions, considerable 
remains of which are to be seen. The spot where we 
encamped is a grove of very old olive trees, on the edge of 
a dashing stream, one of the many which issue from the 
mountain-sides near Banias. 

As it was close to our camping-ground, I made my way 
to the main source of the Jordan, which gushes out from 
the base of a ridge of rock between two parallel wadys that 
run down to the plain. It is a remarkable sight this broad 
river of deep blue water, emerging in a sort of broken 
cascade from the (Ubris at the foot of the rock. The volume 
of water soon settles into a deep stream, with a swiftly-flow- 
ing current, and circling away amidst lofty willow and poplar 
trees is soon lost to view. Behind the source the lofty preci- 
pice of limestone is seen, with two large artificial caverns 
cut in the rock, and two small sculptured niches higher up 
its face. There is a Greek inscription on one of the niches, 
from which we learn that this spot was consecrated by the 
priest of the god Pan. Little is known of Banias previous 
to the reign of Herod the Great, who, according to Josephus, 
built a beautiful temple ^near the place called Fanium.' 
The historian adds that Herod dedicated this temple to 
Csesar Augustus, his patron. In this neighbourhood, it is 
supposed by most learned travellers and Biblical scholars, 
must the scene of the Transfiguration of Our Lord be sought 
for. The tradition which once placed it on Mount Tabor is 
now completely disproved, and we must look for the scene on 
one of the peaks of Hermon. 


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Haviiig inspected the source of the Jordan, we tnmed onr 
steps to examine the ruins of the city, which are of a highly 
picturesque character, scattered over a considerable extent 
of ground. The citadel is the principal ruin, and its massive 
stone walls, which rise in some parts to a height of 20 feet, 
are washed by the foaming Jordan. A venerable-looking 
bridge spans the narrow ravine running down from the 
mountains, and conducts into the principal tower of the 
citadel by an ancient gateway built of large bevelled stones. 
The view from the bank of the ravine near this is striking, 
and presents quite an Alpine appearance, owing to the noble 
range of Hermon towering upwards firom where we stood, its 
huge sides seamed with many a rocky chasm. 

But the main glory of Banias is that grand ruin, the castle 
of Subeibeh, undoubtedly one of the first architectural remains 
in Palestine. We ascended to the peak on which it stands, 
at an altitude of 1,000 feet above the town, on the following 
morning. The castle occupies the ridge of a peak which 
juts out from the mountain-side, and is surrounded on three 
sides with tremendous precipices. Tou clamber with some 
difficulty up the pathway which zigzags the face of one side 
of the ridge, and gain a small portal in one of the great round 
towers of the fortress. The ramparts are c<mstructed of 
large bevelled stones, and are but little injured in many 
places, while the great extent of the building, which run 
along the crest of the hill for nearly 1,000 feet, gives it a 
most imposing appearance. At the eastern end of the ridge 
is the citadel, a work of immense sti'ength surrounded with 

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a moat, standing upon scarped rocks, and defended by 
ramparts and towers. Inside the castle are some large 
reservoirs of water, which were amply supplied at the time 
of onr visit. The origin of this noble fortress is entirely 
unknown, but its great antiquity is matter of little doubt. 
In all probability it may be supposed to be the work of the 
Phoenicians to defend this mountain pass, as they had a 
great trade with Damascus by this route, and its archi- 
tecture is peculiar to this people. There is no mention of 
it, however, in history earlier than the time of the Crusaders, 
into whose hands it fell in the year 1180 and continued in 
Christian possession for about thirty-five years. 

From the western end of the castle a fine prospect is 
gained over the entire plain of the Jordan, almost to its 
junction with the Sea of Galilee. The green and rich plain 
of Lake Huleh stretches away at our feet, with the pic- 
turesque ruins of Banias in the foreground, the hills of 
Eedesh Naphtali, and the blue mountains of Gulilee in the 
distance. Then on all sides of the ridge on which we stand 
are the dark ravines, richly clad with woods, that open out 
from the mighty mass of Mount Hermon. Five or six 
handsome Druse girls were curiously observing our motions, 
and from them, for a pecuniary consideration, we got a 
refreshing draught of water out of a large jug which one of 
them ran and filled. They had dark eyes and finely-formed 
oval faces, with their hair falling down in heavy plaits on 
either side, and their costume came nearer to one's precon- 
ceived idea of oriental attire than any I had yet seen. From 


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the head a long white robe fell down almost to the heels, 
partly covering a blue linen undergarment, and they wore 
the voluminous trousers which are now seen frequently in 
the mountain villages on our way to Damascus* 

Once more scrambling down to where we left our horses, 
we proceeded on our journey. Our path was now a con- 
tinuous ascent up the mountain range, which stretches in a 
southern direction from the central peaks of Hermon. The 
whole way up we had fine views over the Jordan plain and 
wooded slopes of Hermon, until we reached a green table- 
land, in the midst of which is the small lake Er-Eam, once 
supposed to be a feeder, by a subterraneous channel, of the 
source of the Jordan. This is a shallow lake, and could 
afford but a scanty supply of water for so large a fountain. 
From this we held on a path conducting in a northern 
direction up to the higher shoulders of Hermon, until we 
gained a point from which we had an extensive view over a 
portion of the plain of Damascus, the Haur&n, and the great 
marshy land towards Bashan. But we now found that we 
had wandered considerably from the right track, owing to 
our guide losing his way, and we had to make a precipitous 
descent into a wooded valley. There are a. succession of 
rocky ravines, partially clothed with wood, at this part of 
the great Anti-Libanus range, and in some of them the 
white limestone cliffs rise up precipitously from the seldom- 
traversed mule track. About three o^clock in the afternoon 
we came to the village of Beit Jenn, situated where two 
valleys meet, through one of which courses a fine Alpine 

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stream of blue snow-water that foams and sparkles amidst 
boulders and fallen rocks. The village is partially concealed 
by poplars, willows, and other trees which flourish near the 
stream, along whose cultivated banks we pursued our way. 
This stream is a principal tributary of the ancient Pharpar, 
one of the rivers of Damascus. 

Our camping-place was Kefir Hauwar, a large village 
surrounded by gardens and fine walnut trees, inhabited 
partly by Druses and partly by Moslems. There are some 
fragments of ruins in this village, which is situated a few 
hundred yards from the river Awaj, the main tributary of the 
Pharpar. This stream rises at the base of Hermon, drains 
some of the wild ravines, and then joins the Jenndny. A 
good many of the inhabitants of Kefr Hauwar came about 
our tents, with eggs and other provisions to sell, but I did 
not specially fisincy their appearance. We were off betimes 
the following morning, elated at the prospect of reaching 
Damascus, but had a tiresome ride of some hours across a bare 
desert. Passing a succession of bleak hillocks and scrubby 
hollows between, we at length, from a rising ground, caught 
sight of the celebrated plain surrounding the oldest city in 
the world. Those travellers, however, who traverse this route 
will be disappointed if they expect the vast verdant plain all 
at once to burst on their gaze, for, owing to the gradual way 
it is approached from the defiles of Anti-Libanus, there is 
no commanding view to be gained. 

We stopped for a short time at the small hamlet of Artuz, 
not far from which is the Eoman road from Egypt and 

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Palestine to Damascus, and near this is the traditional 
locality of the conversion of St. Paul. A swiftly running 
stream fertilises the district here, passing on to the great 
plain, and now we are in the midst of beauty and culti- 
vation. After leaving Artuz we were soon fairly in the 
plain, surrounded on all sides with rich cornfields, olive- 
groves and orchards, while in front there spread out a 
perfect sea of verdure stretching away in distant perspective 
until the horizon was bounded by a range of mist-covered 
mountains. Holding along the broad track and feasting our 
eyes upon the ocean of foliage in front, amidst which the 
white minarets of the city rose up to view, we now saw in 
all directions that system of canals and watercourses which 
completely irrigate the plain. It is no very easy matter to 
got inside the city, for there are so many lanes outside the 
walls conducting through interminable gardens and plots of 
ground full of mulberry, walnut, olive, apricot, apple, pear, 
plum and fig trees, that you get completely confused, unless 
an experienced guide is with you. At last, however, we 
discovered a small and shabby gate, through whose portals 
we entered the celebrated city which we had come so far to 

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The situation of Damascus is unique. A glittering white 
city rising from a billowy mass of verdure, stretching for 
miles through the broad plain more than thirty miles long 
which is bounded on three sides by lofty mountain chains. 
Beyond the fruit orchards and gardens, whose delicate green 
foliage forms the chief feature of the landscape, there come 
extensive meadows and cornfields, fertilised by the ^Abana 
and Pharpar.' The first of these rivers is now identified 
with the Barada, which rises in the wild ravines of the 
Anti-Libanus range. It flows through a deep gorge in the 
hills clothed abundantly with trees and banks of turf, passes 
through the city and spreads itself over the thirsty plain. 
The Awaj, or Pharpar, flows into the plain by that part of it 
which we had already traversed, and after watering the 
richly-cultivated country through which it courses, enters 
one of the three lakes that lie to the east of Damascus. 

The origin of the city is lost in remote antiquity. Accord- 
ing to Josephus, it was founded by TJz, the great-grandson of 
Noah. It was a place of some consequence in the time of 

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Abraham, and at a subsequent period its kings made war 
against Israel. Damascus long continued to be a great com- 
mercial capital, and a century before the Christian era it once 
more became a royal residence. In the year 64 b.o. the city 
was occupied by the Romans under Pompey, and a pro- 
consul sometimes resided in it. The apostle Paul visited 
it about the year 37 a;d., and Christianity made considerable 
progress there, while about the beginning of the second 
century the great temple was converted into a Christian 
church. For three centuries the worship of Christ prevailed, 
but at length, in 634, Damascus fell under Mohammedan 
rule, though the Christians were permitted to retain seven 
churches and to remain undisturbed in their faith. In the 
year 661 Damascus became the capital of the Mohammedan 
empire, under the warlike dynasty of the Omeiyades, who 
spread their conquering arms over vast portions of Europe 
and Asia. The city was now adorned with sumptuous 
buildings ; amongst them the great mosque was redecorated, 
which, originally a heathen temple, had subsequently been 
used as a Christian cathedral. 

For six or seven centuries Damascus was comparatively 
prosperous, though occasional attacks were made upon it by 
the Crusaders and others, with no definite result* . Then, in 
1401, Tamerlane burst upon the devoted city with his wild 
hordes, and a terrible massacre occurred, incited by that 
cruel warrior in utter violation of his express treaty. There 
is a tradition that only one Christian family escaped out of 
a large population, and the greater part of the city was 

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destroyed by fire. A century after this the Turks, under 
Sultan Selim, gained possession of Damascus, whicli they 
have ever since retained, with the exception of the short 
period of Ibrahim Pasha's occupation, when, for the first 
time, it was opened to the representatives of Christian powers. 
The terrible massacre of Christians which took place in 1860 
will not soon be forgotten, and Porter gives some interesting 
details of it, which had been famished to him by Mr. Robson, 
of the Protestant Mission, who was in the city at the time. 
The latter estimates, firom lists carefully made up, that 1,200 
persons who permanently resided in Damascus were slain, 
besides a large number of strangers from Syria, Egypt and 
other quarters, who had been brought to the city on business 
or other matters. Many hundreds of refugees from the 
surrounding Christian villages, who were found crowded 
together in public places, were ruthlessly murdered. * Thou- 
sands,' says Porter, * who escaped the sword of the assassin 
died of fright, of wounds, of famine, or of subsequent priva- 
tions. Those murdered were men mostly in the prime of 
life, the only support of wives and children. Their houses 
were burned, their property was swept away, all means of 
support were taken from them. . . . The feeling of distrust, 
fear, and hatred still remains deeply rooted in the hearts of 
the Christians towards the Mohammedans, and it can never 
be allayed so long as the treacherous government of Turkey 
rules over Syria.* 

In spite of this dreadful blow to the Christian cause, 
Damascus is well cared for by the friends of true religion in 

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England and America. The Protestant Mission was estab- 
lished in 1843, and is still vigorously carried on, though the 
mission church and schools were burned during the mas- 
sacre, when one of the devoted missionaries, the Bev. Mr. 
Graham, of Bel&st, fell a victim to the assassins* Through 
the liberality of Miss Bromfield and other Christian friends, 
the church and the schools were rebuilt and have been 
largely attended both by Christians* and natives. Both in 
the ciiy and villages near it scholars are gathered in, and 
public worship is conducted in Arabic twice every Sunday. 
There is always a service in English every Sunday, informa- 
tion as to which may be gained at Dimitri^s Hotel or the 
British Consulate. As a rule, it is held in the church of the 
Irish Presbyterian Mission, at 11 o'clock. 

Damascus has a population of 150,000, and is the political 
capital of Syria. The Pasha, who is commander-in-chief of 
the army, has three subordinate pashalics under him, namely, 
Beyrout, Akka, and Jerusalem. Lebanon is an independent 
pashalic, governed by a Christian, under arrangement made 
by the European Powers after the massacre. A great trade 
is carried on by the city with the Bedawin and the peasants, 
especially in silks, woollen cloths, arms, ornaments, and smaller 
articles. The bazaars are famous for their extent and varieiy, 
and in addition to the silk manufactured goods, great quanti- 
ties of which are made in Damascus, you can purchase here the 
products of the looms of Manchester, Lyons, and Cashmere. 
When the Mecca caravan comes here, the city is thronged 
with pilgrims from all parts of the Eastern world, whose 

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varied costumes, as they promenade through the bazaars, 
present a highly picturesque appearance. With the ex- 
ception of the great mosque and the castle, which however 
is a mere shell, and a few ancient doorways, there are no 
architectural remains to speak of in the city, and its streets 
are narrow, dirty, and wretchedly kept. Externally almost 
all the houses have a poor appearance, but many of them 
have costly and magnificent interiors, which are well worthy 
a visit. 

Our first care was to secure rooms at Dimitri's Hotel, the 
only one in the city where Europeans can put up, and it is 
generally quite full at this season. Excellent diligences, the 
property of a French company who constructed the admir- 
able road fi:om Damascus to Beyrout, ply between the two 
places and convey numerous travellers, both English and 
American. As this mode of travelling does not involve the 
necessiiy of a dragoman, and as the journey is broken by 
stopping half-way at Stoorar, from whence you are conveyed 
to Baalbec, numbers of people are availing themselves of it. 
Then the ordinary travellers making a tour of the Holy 
Land generally prefer to go to a hotel when a good one is to 
be found, so it is quite likely that Dimitri's somewhat limited 
accommodation may be fully taken up. The hotel is situ- 
ated near the terminus of the new Beyrout road not very 
Tar from the castle, and is a comfortable, well-arranged house. 
You enter by an unpromising-looking, iron-sheathed door, 
and find yourself in a cool, open courtyard, shaded by 
orange and lemon trees, with a clear plashing fountain of 

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water which freshens the air, A stone platform, raised 
slightly above the rest of the courtyard, is famished with 
chairs and tables, where you can smoke your cigar or chi- 
bouque, sip your coffee, read the papers, or otherwise wile 
away the time. 

After resting a short time at the hotel, we set off to 
inspect the bazaars, which are the great sight of Damascus, 
always excepting the unequalled view from the sununit of 
the great mosque./ You walk but a little way along the 
' crowded streets, and then plunge into the shady, partially- 
covered labyrinthine alleys which constitute the bazaars. 
As in most oriental cities, each trade has its special location, 
where are collected together jewellers, silversmiths, spice- 
sellers, confectioners, silk merchants, tailors, shoemakers, 
saddlers, and many others. Their various articles of mer- 
chandise are ranged on shelves in an open stall, consisting 
generally of a wooden counter raised three or four feet above 
the roadway, and a recess behind it which can be closed by 
a door. The owner of the shop sits on his counter, smoking 
a pipe or conversing with his friends, and it surprises one 
how little real business appears to be done. A restless, in- 
cessantly moving crowd passes along the cool, dark bazaar 
with little uoise, for the earthen causeway deadens all sound 
of human footfalls or tread of animals. It is amusing merely 
to stand in a comer and watch the gaily-dressed crowds 
who pass by like characters in a masquerade. Well-to-do 
merchants, with voluminous turbans and gaudy robes ; veiled 
ladies, dressed in gay silk garments, attended by their dusky 

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slaves carrying the purcliases which have been made ; water- 
carriers clinking their glass as they quickly move along ; 
sometimes a string of camels with their ponderous loads, 
which brush rudely against the passers-by ; sellers of confec- 
tions pursuing their itinerant calling; perhaps a group of 
English or foreign travellers, staring about them with might 
and main ; Persians with their tall hats, Circassians and 
foreigners in their white costume, Arabs from the desert, 
blue-robed peasants from the villages of the plain, Turkish 
soldiers, Armenian priests, and Druses from the Lebanon — 
all come and go in endless procession. 

We proceeded to an ancient khan in one of the bazaars, 
where we made some purchases of silks and tablecloths from a 
merchant known to our dragoman. There are a good many 
of these khans which you enter by a doorway from the 
bazaar, and they are sometimes of great size and most solid 
construction, occasionally also richly decorated with sculp- 
tured marbles. On entering you find yourself in a large 
gloomy square courtyard, with a range of arched corridors 
round the sides used as depositories for goods of all sorts. 
Stone staircases conduct to an upper range of shops, which 
occupy the covered gallery forming the second story of the 
building. Our shawl merchant was apparently a trustworthy 
man, who asked a reasonable price for his goods, and did 
not follow the usual plan of commencing with an extor- 
tionate demand, which he eventually after hard fighting re- 
duced to something like a fourth of his original sum. Prom 
this we wandered away through bazaar after bazaar, some 

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of the principal of which are in the * street called straight,' 
now a particularly tortuous passage. The silversmiths' 
bazaar is one of the most interesting, a large gloomy hall 
full of narrow counters, with workmen at them, busily en- 
gaged at their small fires in forging articles of ornament and 
use, hammering out silver bracelets and chains, while others 
are setting and polishing gems, or bargaining with intending 
purchasers. These men are all Christians, and are a prosperous 
and respectable body. Numerous cook-shops are scattered 
about the bazaars, and we were particularly struck vrith the 
simple apparatus for roasting the meat, which seems to do its 
work effectually. A great number of triangular slices of 
meat are stuck one above another, as thick as they will pack, 
upon a long skewer which slowly revolves before a hot fire. 
All of these cooks seem to be well patronised by the public, 
as are the coffee vendors and confection merchants. The 
seed, shoemakers', and pipe bazaars are each worthy a visit, 
also the Greek bazaar, where porcelain, antique armour, em- 
broidered silks, precious stones, inlaid daggers, and singular 
ornaments of all kinds may be purchased. 

However, as it is fatiguing work jostling your way through 
these peculiar oriental scenes of buying and selling, we were 
not sorry to return to the hotel and partake of our excel- 
lent table d^hote dinner, at which about thirty guests were 
present. We again passed the castle, whose ancient walls 
may be seen a good way off amidst the mud-built houses and 
wooden stalls which environ them. It is of great extent, 
280 yards long by 200 broad, and is encompassed by a deep 

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moat communicating with the Barada. To see the interior 
an order from the military authorities is necessary, but 
there seems to be nothing to repay the trouble of a visit. 
There are extensive comer towers, and the walls, which, 
whether of Eoman or Saracen construction, are extremely 
old, have the appearance of great strength. Not far from 
the castle is the wonderful plane tree, 40 feet in circum- 
ference, that no one shoxdd leave Damascus without seeing ; 
its enormous trunk, however, exhibits signs of decay, but 
great branches ftdl of vigorous life spring from it. The 
authorities, with little regard for so venerable a relic, have 
permitted a house to be built against it, which greatly spoils 
its picturesque appearance. 

After dinner it was very pleasant to lounge about the cool 
and fragrant courtyard, watching the scenes of oriental life 
going on. Several vendors of the usual articles and trinkets 
with which travellers are tempted now appeared, and did a 
lively business in pipes, daggers, silks, slippers, Damascus 
inkhoms, inlaid trays, and such-like. The liberal array of 
Turkish ornaments, spread on the pavement and lighted 
up by several lamps, made an effective display ; while the 
bearded owners, squatting on their carpets, smoked on with 
becoming gravity until a purchaser appeared. The weather 
looked somewhat unpromising that afternoon and evening, 
but next morning the sun again shone with cloudless 
splendour. We did a little more bazaar practice for an hour 
after breakfast, and then joined a large American party who 
were going to visit the great mosque. As a napoleon ia 

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exacted for admission from each party, however small, and 
there are usually a few additional expenses, it is as well to 
join with some of the intending visitors. 

To approach the mosque you traverse an intricate range of 
bazaars, and the gateway, through which you gain admis- 
sion, enters from one of these crowded avenues. It is not 
known when the shrine that from time immemorial has 
occupied this site was first raised; but a great temple 
stood here, which was converted into a church for the 
worship of God by the early Christians. A Greek in- 
scription over the doorway was found nearly half a century 
ago, vfith an inscription narrating that the church of * John 
the Baptist was restored by Arcadius, the son of Theodosius,' 
who ascended the throne a.d. 395. As before mentioned, 
the Omeiyades, who became masters of the city in the latter 
part of the seventh century, turned the church into a 
Mohammedan mosque, and destroyed all traces of its former 
Christian character. 

An immense portion of ground, 1,100 feet long^ by 800 feet 
broad, is occupied by the mosque and its vast square en- 
closure. Various gates admit to the interior of the court, 
which is surrounded by cloisters, having an arched screen in 
front, supported by stone and marble columns. The mosque 
is a noble structure, no less than 431 feet long by 125 broad, 
entirely roofed over, presenting a grand vista of three far- 
reaching aisles, while midway it is crossed by a lofty 
transept. We walked along the tesselated marble floor, 
which is almost entirely covered with carpets, admiring as 

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we went the doable ranges of fine Corinthian columns of 
T0880 anticOy porphyry, and different oriental marbles, whose 
venerable appearance contrasts with the new decorations of 
the ceiling. In the lower parts of the walls are seen many 
figured devices in marble, and above these come remains of 
the old mosaic decorations which once adorned the interior. 
The transept is crowned with a fine dome, 50 feet in dia- 
meter and 120 feet high, standing below which, and glanc- 
ing firom end to end, you get a good idea of the magnitude 
of this great building. Near this you gain admission, by a 
small door, to the inner sanctum, a small, richly decorated 
chamber, embellished with fanciful arabesques, under which 
is said to be the cave where the head of St. John the Baptist 
is preserved in a golden casket. 

From this we proceeded to ascend the loftiest of the three 
minarets which the mosque possesses. This is the ^ minaret 
of Jesus,' Madinet Isa, rising to the height of 250 feet fix)m 
the south-eastern angle of the great paved courtyard. 
According to Moslem belief, Our Lord, when He comes to 
judge the world, will rest on this minaret, from whence, 
entering the mosque, he vrill summon before him men of every 
sect. The ascent is rendered comparatively easy by an excel- 
lent staircase, which opens out on to one or two galleries at 
different altitudes. From the uppermost of these a truly 
grand view meets your eyes. At your feet lies the city, an 
irregular, yellow mass of houses with many open courtyards, 
verdant with trees and sparkling with fountains, and an 
occasional white minaret lifting up its golden crescent to the 

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dazzling rays of the sun. All round the great city is that 
soft sea of exquisite verdure, which imperceptibly fades 
away first into the green cornfields of the plain, and then is 
lost amidst the yellow sands of the distant desert. The eye 
is never wearied of gazing upon the lovely green of those 
clustering scented groves of flowering fruit trees, which so 
strikingly contrasts with the snow-clad ranges of lofty 
mountains that bound the horizon in the direction of mighty 

After lingering long to survey the matchless view, we 
descended to the courtyard and quitted the mosque by the 
same gate that we entered it. Our steps were now turned 
in the direction of one of the gorgeously-decorated houses, 
which are kindly exhibited by their owners for the gratifica- 
tion of strangers. Entering a small door, we found ourselves 
in the usual paved court, with a fountain in the centre, and 
orange, citron, jessamine, and other fragrant plants scenting 
the air. From this we went into two richly-adorned apart- 
ments, whose walls and ceilings blazed with gold marbles 
and mosaics. Quaint arabesque devices in gilding and 
paint, handsome mirrors, and heavy damask curtains gave a 
sumptuous air to the interior. The floor was marble, and a 
raised divan ran round the room, covered with handsomely 
embroidered cushions. Another house which we visited 
belonged to a Jewish proprietor, some of the ladies of whose 
family we saw at a distance, but they appeared disconcerted 
at our observation, and soon beat a retreat. More * shop- 
ping ' followed these visits, and our store of tablecloths, silks, 

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otto of roses, and similar oriental mementoes, was still 
ftirtlier augmented. 

That evening Mr. Sim and I had the pleasure of dining with 
the British consul and Mrs. Green at their charming house. 
Mr. Green is well known as a most efficient representative 
of British interests in Syria, for he has lived long in the 
East, understands the language thoroughly, and has all 
the address and resolution necessary in dealing with 
Turkish officials. Through the kindness of our hosts, we 
had an opportunity, which few travellers enjoy, of seeing 
part of the wedding rejoicings, or rather I should say the 
ante-nuptial festivities, that take place when a marriage is 
celebrated in a Jewish family. The * lovely and accom- 
plished ' bride, about to be * led to the hymeneal altar,' 
was a daughter of a wealthy Jew by name Stambouli. 
We accompanied Mrs. Green, who rode a handsome white 
donkey guided by the consular 'Kawass,' to the house 
where the party were all assembled. We were received at 
the entrance-door by several picturesquely-dressed attend- 
ants, and found ourselves in a great lighted courtyard, 
where were a number of girls in pretty white costumes, who 
saluted us by throwing up their arms, giving at the same 
time a peculiar shrill, chorussing cry, signifying a hearty 
welcome. Then some members of the family conducted us 
into a large, brilliantly-lighted room, with a plashing 
fountain in the centre and divans round the walls, on which 
were seated a considerable assemblage of friends and rela- 
tives. The floor at one end was somewhat raised above the 


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remainder of the room, and on this platform sat all the 
married ladies and elders of the partj. These matrons were 
showy-looking Jewesses, with an unmistakeable tendency 
to embonpoint, to put it politely, whose heavy, rather ex- 
pressionless countenances were now beaming with cordiality 
and delight. Some of them wore extremely fine jewels, 
especially a daughter-in-law of the head of the house, 
whose splendid diamond rings and bracelets were especially 

The lower portion of the room was occupied by the 
younger ladies and gentlemen, a band of musicians, the 
children and others, all gaily attired and bent on enjoy- 
ment. The orchestra discoursed oriental music at in- 
tervals, and then one performer played the familiar * Carnival 
de Venise * on the violin very fairly. Turkish sweetmeats, 
preserved fruits, liqueurs, and also cigarettes, were handed 
round in trays, after which dancing commenced. This per- 
formance, however, was strictly a pas seul after the Eastern 
fashion, one young lady succeeding another. Each girl 
came up on the raised platform, politely kissed Mrs. Green 
and shook hands with the gentlemen in turns, and then 
went through her portion of the entertainment. The dance 
was merely a gyratory motion, slow at first and then grow- 
ing faster by degrees, while the arms were gracefully raised 
above the head every now and then, after which, with a 
courtesy to the distinguished strangers, the young lady re- 
joined her companions. This went on for more than an hour 
amidst the smiles of the elder spectators and the merry 

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applause of the juveniles, while the ringing chorus of the 
girls in the courtyard was heard at every fresh arrival of 
guests. We at last took our departure, much pleased ydth 
the novel entertainment and the cordial hospitality of Jacobi 
Stambouli. Previous to our leaving, however, we saw a 
number of the bride's presents, which were varied and hand- 
some; fine articles of jewellery, silk scarves, pretty bon- 
bormieresy fans and other ornaments ; not the least curious 
among them was the wig which, according to the Mosaic 
law, it is proper for women to wear over the front portion of 
the head that it is customary to shave. 

It rained hard almost the entire forenoon of next day, 
which was Sunday, and certainly Damascus on a wet day is 
not a cheerful place. It grew quite cold also, and the con- 
dition of the streets was something fearftd to witness. We 
attended service at the British Syrian Schools, and found a 
small assemblage of people, perhaps about thirty, several of 
whom were native converts. The Eev. Mr. Hart conducted 
the service, and preached an excellent and eloquent sermon 
upon the text of those who *sow in sorrow shall reap in 
joy.' We afterwards met this gentleman on board the 
Constantinople steamer on his way to England. We had 
some difficulty in finding our way back to the hotel, and 
wandered away towards the suburbs, getting into muddy 
lanes, bounded on each side by high walls made of great 
slabs of dried mud, sometimes 6 or 8 feet long. Various 
small streams, fed from the Barada, course through the 
orchards and gardens of this part of the city, and it is a 

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favourite spot for outdoor caf6%^ which are gailj lighted up 
at night and thronged with loungers. Travellers sometimes 
pitch their tents in these gardens, and we found one party 
under canvas, an English clergyman with his wife and a friend 
who were going a tour in the Haurdn. At last we regained 
our road to the hotel, which we were very glad to reach as 
it was now raining heavily. 

As the weather looked broken, and one of our party was 
far from well, we resolved to start next day for Baalbec, m, 
route to Beyrout. Mr. Sim decided to remain behind, hardly 
feeling up to the fatigue of crossing the mountains, and 
intending to proceed quietly by diligence to Beyrout. Un- 
doubtedly we had seen comparatively little of Damascus, 
especially of its beautiful environs, which aflFord days and days 
of charming excursions and rides. There are no less than 
184 villages in the suburbs, with a population little short of 
60,000, and the views over the city and plain from some of 
tliese are surpassingly beautiful. Then some of the fine 
Eoman and Saracenic gateways, the venerable khans, the 
numerous mosques, the convents and churches, the traditional 
sacred spots connected with the apostle Paul and the early 
Christians, the English cemetery, where the historian Buckle 
fills an untimely ; the endless bazaars, the hospitals, 
the gorgeous private houses, and innumerable other sights 
and places of interest, afford materials for a sojourn of weeks 
in this city, so often styled the * Pearl of the East-.' 

Our horses and attendants were at the hotel door shortly 
after one o'clock on Monday, April 15, and our courteous host 

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Dimitri came to wish us a pleasant journey. We took the 
capital Beyrout road, one that would do credit to any country 
in Europe, though, by the way, it is about the only one prac- 
ticable for wheeled carriages throughout all Palestine, and 
for some time followed the course of the Barada. Passed 
various large houses embowered amidst fine old trees, used as 
residences by the higher Turkish oflScials, and soon got away 
from the suburbs. The road is perfectly flat for two or three 
miles, with rows of poplar trees skirting it, and then enters 
the rugged gorge through which the Barada flows into the 
plain. All the lower portions of the limestone mountains 
rising up from the stream are beautifully verdant and clothed 
with poplar, walnut, fig, and other trees. A luxuriant under- 
growth of shrubs and tangled grasses is nourished by the 
numerous rills and streams of water bursting from the moun- 
tain-sides, while substantially-built channels for conveying the 
water at a higher level than the river's bed are seen carried 
along the banks of the gorge. Still, though the smooth 
macadamised road is very pleasant to traverse on horseback, 
I was infinitely disgusted when I found that by following it 
we had lost the celebrated view of the plains of Damascus, 
which is gained by taking the old route over the brow of the 

Leaving the Beyrout road in the middle of this romantic 
glen, we turned to the right and pursued our way over a 
dreary, treeless coimtry, with limestone mountains on all sides, 
and occasional rocky hollows between the bleak ridges of 
barren pasture lands. But as we got deeper and deeper into 

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the morintain, and came down upon the village near Ain Fijeh, 
the scenery grew grand and interesting. The valley is 
bonnded on one side by the mountains 2,000 feet high, and 
a lofty range of precipices on the other. All along its banks 
the stream is fringed with beautiful green walnut, fig, poplar, 
apricot, and other trees, which fill the lower slopes of the 
valley with a billowy mass of rich verdure. Numerous small 
villages are seen embowered amid the leafy trees, and the 
inhabitants came out to inspect us as we passed. The main 
attraction of Fijeh is its remarkable fountain emerging fix)m 
the hill-side, similar to that of the Jordan at Banias, but 
with a considerably larger volume of water. It rushes out 
in a magnificent foaming torrent from the steep rocky bank, 
welling up in bubbling masses, and the stream is all at once 
a broad, rapid, and deep current. 

The ruins of an old temple overhang the source, consisting 
of a platform of large stones, which show that the structure 
was once of some size. On the right of the fountain another 
ruin is seen, formed of ancient masonry, the walls being 
massive and solidly built, and from them you get the best 
view of the rushing waters eager to escape from their rocky 

As it was rather cold and raw, we did not linger long at 
Ain Fijeh, but pushed on so as to reach the tents before dark. 
All the way from this the valley continues richly wooded, and 
is hummed in with lofty cliffs rising perpendicularly up to 
the mountain ridges behind. Luxuriant green grass and pro- 
mising grain crops clothe the banks of the stream, while apple. 

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pear, plum, walnut, almond, and many other trees, form a 
continuous series of orchards for miles and miles along the 
valley. After a while the valley somewhat opens out, and 
the hills recede fix)m it in gentler slopes ; but still the rows 
of poplars and other trees plainly indicate the course of the 
stream. Our tents were pitched under the lee of an over- 
arching rock, near SAk Wady Barada, the ancient Abila, 
situated in the midst of fine mountain scenery. But 
few remains of any size are left to testify to the consider- 
able importance which this city once enjoyed. Shortly 
before the Christian era, Lysa.nias, son of Ptolemy King 
of Chalcis, transferred the seat of government to Abila, 
hence called * Abila of Lysanias.' Cleopatra caused the 
king to be murdered, and for a time possessed Chalcis, and 
subsequently Abila was governed by members of the Herod 
family. It became an episcopal see, and in a.d. 634 was 
captured by the Saracens, after which its history ceased to 
be of importance. 

Next morning our route lay for a considerable way along 
the Wady Barada, which is full of fine scenery of a bold and 
rocky character. The mountains are of a red colour where 
the rocky cliffs rise precipitously from the slopes, and 
occasional tombs are seen pierced in the rocks. The torrent, 
which was now foil from the rain of the last day or two, 
tore along with great force, and the ground was too hea^ for 
riding fast. By degrees the trees diminished in number, and 
two hours from Abila they ceased altogether. The mountain 
peaks grew more lofty, and being covered with snow made 

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the air feel excessively cold. Thougli there are numerous 
villages on the mountain-side, we only met with a few 
stray shepherds or peasants, who till the poor stony soil that 
yields but a scanty crop. Most of the higher peaks were 
enveloped in mist, and the character of the scenery a good 
deal reminded me of parts of the Highlands of Scotland* 

During most of the day we had for fellow travellers four 
young Americans whom we had met with at Damascus, and 
again encountered in the steamer leaving Beyrout. They 
were lively, sensible young fellows, who had come to Europe 
for a twelvemonth's tour, and meant to see a good deal of 
Asia also before returning to the land of the ^almighty dollar.' 
It would be against all old-fiishioned British notions of pro- 
priety for a party of young Englishmen to be sent abroad 
without some older companion, or a clerical friend, to accom- 
pany them, but the enterprising youth of America are per- 
fectly well able to look after themselves. I was fortunate 
in meeting with several most agreeable American families 
on my travels, whose intelligence, courtesy, and friendliness 
rather contrasts with the polite frigidity of your fashionable 
travelling Englishman. 

We encamped at the small village of Surgh&ya, situated on 
a bleak plain, and as the ground all about was muddy and 
soft, the afternoon also being chill and uninviting, we did not 
care to wander far. The following morning was again cold, 
with a cutting wind blowing, but as the day advanced the 
sun soon exerted a powerful influence on the temperature. 
The scenery through which we rode was of a grand descrip- 

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tion, for we were surrounded by lofty mountain ranges whose 
tops are always covered with snow. Our road followed a 
devious course, up one hill and down another, but we thus 
gained extensive views of mountain, stream and vaUey. 
Early in the day we caught sight of the great plain of 
BuMa, which extends between the ranges of Lebanon and 
Anti-Lebanon, a flat, fertile expanse of green waving crops. 
For a considerable part of our way we had been following 
the old Eoman road between Damascus and Baalbec, crossing 
the stream at one place by an ancient bridge. This plain is 
watered by the Litany, the ancient Leontes, which flows in a 
south-western direction between the two great mountain 
ranges, until it enters the Mediterranean a short distance 
north of Tyre. 

Still keeping high up the mountain-sides, shortly after mid- 
day we obtained our first view of the grand peristyle of the 
principal temple of Baalbec, towering above the surrounding 
mass of ruins, while the small village in their neighbourhood 
is nearly hidden by trees and inequalities of the ground. Situ- 
ated about the watershed of the great plain which stretches 
for nearly eighty miles between two opposing chains of 
the Lebanon mountains, Baalbec has a site well chosen for 
architectural effect. The town was placed on the slope of 
some low hills, a mile from the main mountain chain, and it 
was formerly a place of great strength, possessing regular 
walls and towers. The temples were built half a mile beyond 
the city, and as the surrounding plain was flat, vast platforms 
were constructed to form a foundation for the huge edifices 

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which were to be erected. Thus a smooth surface, elevated 
in some parts 50 feet above the plain, was obtained on which 
to rear those noble temples, whose magnificence has since 
excited the admiration of the world. 

To the Phosnicians is generally ascribed the founding of 
the city of Baalbec, for the style of masonry in parts of the 
great platform is decidedly characteristic of that nation. 
The name which the city bore, Heliopolis, the * City of the 
Sun,' shows that here was a shrine consecrated to the worship 
of that luminary, which always had a high position among 
Asiatic divinities. In Syrian mythology Baal held much the 
same place as Jupiter did in the Grecian worship, and it 
was also a name for the Sun. The district of Heliopolis 
was colonised by the Romans in the time of Julius Csesar, 
and from the inscriptions on the front of the great temple, it 
seems certain that those majestic buildings were erected by 
the Emperor Antoninus Pius about the middle of the second 
century. It would appear that the great temple was dedi- 
cated to all the gods of Heliopolis, and Macrobius mentions 
that in it was kept a golden statue of Jupiter, which was 
ciorried through the city on festive days. There seems little 
doubt, however, that previous to this, other temples existed on 
the site of the present ruins, for Heliopolis, as a city, is known 
to have flourished long before the Christian era. Under Boman 
auspices, the temples were the scene of. obscene orgies and 
horrid persecutions, partially checked in the time of Con- 
stantine, who founded at Heliopolis a large basilica. Crowds 
of martyrs were subjected, amidst those grand monuments. 

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to fearful cruelties, until, in a.d. 379, the Emperor Theodosius 
convertel the great temple of Baal into a Christian church. 
In the seventh century the Moslems took possession of 
Heliopolia, which they afterwards called by its original name 
of Baalbec, and they turned the temples and enclosures into 
a vast fortress. The city from that period declined, and its 
population dwindled away to a few hundred inhabitants, some 
of whom are Christians under the supervision of a bishop of 
the Greek Church. 

You enter the ruins by a long subterranean passage or 
tunnel, which has its orifice at the south-eastern angle of 
the outer wall, and after traversing its gloomy vaulted interior, 
you emerge upon the great court of the temple of Baal. An 
extraordinary sight meets your eyes, for on all sides your 
admiration is excited by majestic ruins in every stage of 
destruction. To your left is seen the portico and part of the 
peristyle of the temple of the Sun, with its grand entrance 
42 feet high by 21 feet wide. It is further adorned with 
magnificent fluted columns, 65 feet high, surmounting which 
is a massive and highly ornate entablature. But the object 
which at once attracts your whole attention is that cyclopean 
ruin, the peristyle of the great temple, once composed of 54 
gigantic columns, 75 feet high and 7 feet in diameter, but 
now, alas I represented only by six of those stupendous 
columns, which exalt their noble shafts amidst a wilderness 
of half-buried capitals, broken pillars and portions of entabla- 
ture. Then, turning to the right, the immense proportions 
of the great court in front of the temple impress one with the 

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vast scale of the entire remains. This court is 440 feet long 
by 370 broad, and in its side walls are niches for statues and 
recesses, with many remains of columns, while small chambers 
are seen at intervals whose interiors are highly ornamented. 
A portal 50 feet wide opens into the hexagonal-shaped court, 
whose diameter is 200 feet, forming, with the spacious portico 
beyond, the eastern and main entrance to the majestic series 
of buildings. The entire area covered by the temples, courts, 
and surrounding walls is little short of 1,200 feet in length 
and 800 in breadth. My description, however, would have 
been more distinct had I begun with the fine portico facing 
the east, 180 feet in length and 37 feet deep, access to which 
was gained by a spacious flight of stairs. Beyond this came 
the hexagonal court, leading to the grand quadrangular court, 
at the end of which stood the great temple, with that un- 
equalled peristyle, whose remains constitute one of the finest 
ruins in the world. 

Commencing at the portico, we find that it is founded upon 
a wall of large, roughly-dressed stones, so as to be elevated 
above the surrounding ground. Indeed, the whole of these 
grand structures were built upon a large substructure of 
enormous walls and massive arches, forming a continuous 
platform, with a height at the great temple of 50 feet above 
the plain. Tlie portico was also adorned with columns and 
side- wings, in the latter of which were chambers of con- 
siderable size, and carefully decorated. Passing into the 
hexagonal coui't, more small recesses and chambers are 
observed, but the columns with which they were ornamented 

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have almost perished. Then comes the great court, whose 
numerous chambers, niches and recesses, with their grace- 
ful pilasters, richly sculptured entablatures, and fanciful 
friezes, would take days to examine properly. And now 
the traveller stands transfixed with admiration before the 
majestic fragment of the noble temple. The columns are 
Corinthian, and the shafts are composed of three massive 
pieces of stone, while the base, capital, and the portion of 
entablature, 14 feet high, immediately above each column, 
are severally one huge block of stone. The latter especially 
are highly decorated with rich mouldings of the egg and 
dice ornaments, and a frieze of acanthus leaves extends its 
airy tracery along the face of the entablature. 

These six columns stand upon a massive base of great 
stones, much buried by soil and rubbish, at a considerably 
higher elevation than the infinitely more perfect temple of the 
Sun, situated at the south-west comer of this gigantic group 
of ruins. Its ornaments and architecture are Corinthian, 
similar in character to those of the temple of Baal, and we can 
form an excellent idea of the appearance it must have pre- 
sented when in its pristine glory. The portico, facing the 
east, arrests the attention of all travellers from its singular 
and highly ornate character. The sides of the portal are 
each a single stone, with an elaborate and beautiful border 
of carved work. The under surface of the lintel was 
sculptured with the figure of an eagle, similar in style to that 
seen on the temple of the Sun at Palmyra, the bird holding 
a caduceus in his talons ; but, unfortunately, the key-stone 

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of the lintel was displaced hy the shock of an earthquake 
about the year 1759, and sank two feet from its original 
position, though it was held up bj the stones on either side. 
Within the last two or three years, however, it no longer 
was suffered to hang suspended in this perilous position, but 
a most unpicturesque pier of masonry has been built up to 
support it. The architrave is also decorated with Cupids, 
scrollwork of leaves, bunches of grapes, and other emblem- 
atical devices. 

You enter the temple, which is of great dimensions, 227 
feet by 117, and find that the interior also is highly orna- 
mented with columns, pilasters, and sculptured niches. At 
its western end is the sanctum, which was elevated above 
the floor of the temple, and separated from the nave by a 
range of columns. Proceeding outside to examine the noble 
peristyle, you are still more struck with the majestic character 
of this fine temple. When entire, the forty-two pillars of the' 
colonnade must have presented a truly imposing appear- 
ance. Those that remain on the north side, nine in number, 
are surmounted by a fine entablature 12 feet high, connected 
with the main walls of the temple by immense slabs of stone. 
It is much to be regretted that the elaborate ornamentation 
of the entablature has been so seriously injured in many 
places as scarcely to be traceable. The west end of the 
temple is the most perfect, as there are six columns still 
standing, though great masses of ruins encumber the base- 
ment waU. On the south side one solitary column remains, 
but, strangely enough, it has been forced from its place by 

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some tremendous shock, and has rested unbroken against 
the temple wall for more than 100 years. There was 
a great earthquake in the year 1759, which wrought much 
havoc amongst those colossal ruins, no less than nine 
columns of this temple and three of the great temple being 
thrown to the ground. 

There is an extensive breach in the wall at its south- 
western angle, by which you can, without much difficulty, 
descend to the plain and survey the magnificent substructure 
supporting those ponderous remains. I made my way across 
the prostrate columns and displaced stones, and crossed a 
little stream of clear water running at the base of the western 
wall. Standing midway along this vast mass of masonry, 
I saw before me the three celebrated stones whose gigantic 
proportions never fail to astonish all travellers, and from 
which the temple once had its name, Trilithon the * Three- 
stoned.* They form a continuous course of masonry 190 feet 
in length, each stone being upwards of 63 feet long and 13 
deep, and are built into the wall at an elevation of 20 feet from 
the ground. Truly one might almost excuse the Arab belief 
that the Genii had been the constructors of this wondrous 
structure, for by what then known force could this astound- 
ing work have been performed ? On rounding the comer of 
the outer wall I was again overpowered with astonishment 
on inspecting the unfinished northern wall, which has nine 
stones in it, each more than 30 feet long and 13 high. 
Everything, however, is on such a colossal scale, that the 
mind gradually grows accustomed to architectural wonders, 

A A 

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and stones 20 feet long hardly attract any observation. In 
wandering round the exterior walls you get an excellent 
idea of the vast size of the mass of temples, and you also see 
how many different races of men once worshipped here, and 
what various ideas of strengthening and adorning the build- 
ings were then in vogue. 

But undoubtedly the time to see this, as well as most 
magnificent ruins, is by * pale moonlight.' That evening I 
strolled away from our tent, which was pitched in the area 
of the great quadrangular court, and took up my stand on 
an old column commanding a prospect of the ruins. All 
around was silent as the grave, and the huge columns of the 
great temple rose grandly up against the star-spangled sky, 
while a confused outline of mouldering capitals, shafts, and 
portions of crumbling walls, majestic in their destruction, 
filled up the details of the ghostly picture. The vast columns 
and entablatures loomed black amidst the heavy atmosphere, 
partially lit up by the moonlight, and long dark shadows 
cast athwart the broken area of the temple still further 
heightened the striking effect. The most intense gloom 
pervaded each yawning porial and cavernous recess, while 
the ponderous capitals, lying half-hidden amidst long grass 
and clustering weeds, seemed to acquire a still more gigantic 
bulk. There was something solemn and awe-inspiring in 
thus wandering amidst those marvellous monuments of a 
forgotten past, and the mind dwelt sadly upon the terrible 
scenes which once were enacted on this very spot. Assuredly 
the record is * on high ' of those saintly martyrs who here 

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yielded up their last breath amidst the exultant shouts of their 
enemies, and their lustre will shine with exceeding brilliancy 
on the day when Our Blessed Saviour makes up His jewels. 

We spent a little time that afternoon in inspecting the 
village of Baalbec and one or two ruins near it. It is 
but a poor place, and the inhabitants do not manifest a 
particularly firiendly disposition towards strangers. The 
remains of a ruined mosque, entrance to which is gained by 
a doorway oflf the narrow street, are worth examining for the 
sake of the fine granite columns which may be seen inside. 
Extensive portions also of the old wall which surrounded the 
city are to be seen, and the fountains are well worthy of a 
visit. The water which supplies them flows along a pretty 
valley, green with verdure, and passing partly through the 
village and beside the temples, breaks up into little stream- 
lets, which lose themselves in the thirsty plain. But the 
principal ruin outside the great range of temples is a small 
circular building on the outskirts of the village, suiTOunded 
by an ill-kept garden orchard. Its interior is 38 feet in 
diameter, and there is a peristyle of six columns supporting 
an entablature, which, as well as the walls and decorations 
oatside, shows many traces of the ravages of time. This 
temple was formerly covered with a dome, long since 
destroyed, and during last century it was used as a Greek 
Christian church, but no efforts are now made to maintain 
it in order. 

In addition to our party, there were two other encamp- 
ments of tents inside the ruins of Baalbec. The young 

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Americans had arrived mucli about the same time as oar- 
selves, and later on in the afternoon an Austrian nobleman 
and his lady, the Prince and Princess Alfred de Liechtenstein, 
also pitched their tents near the temple of the Sun. Certainly 
few spots in the world oflfer such a splendid prospect of 
colossal ruins, which can be calmly surveyed as you sit in 
your tent, and the grass growing inside these great courts is 
pleasantly soft and green. To our surprise, as we were 
quietly indulging in the * firagrant weed ' after dinner, who 
should appear on the scene but our friend Mr. Sim. He 
found himself better, and pushed on from Damascus by 
diligence to the half-way house of Stoorar, from whence he 
had that afternoon ridden on a rather indifferent animal 
all the way to Baalbec. With characteristic energy he set 
out, accompanied by a guide, on a partial inspection of the 
ruins, and completed his survey on the following morning. 

Reluctantly did we leave our camping-ground next morn- 
ing, for in the early sunlight the ruins seemed finer than 
ever, and we knew we never should * look on their like again.' 
Before starting I went to take a farewell look at these vast 
remains, and standing on the base of one of the columns of 
that grand peristyle, I gazed long and wistfully at the scene 
of destruction. From this point you decidedly command the 
best view of the ruins, for before you are the piled-up masses 
of broken columns, capitals and cornices, beyond which 
comes the noble form of the temple of the Sua. Its most 
perfect sides were presented to view, with the early sun rays 
gilding each capital and shaft. Beyond this temple the eye 

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wandered away to the great walls snrroiiEdijig the courts, 
and gradually returned to tJbe vast columns at whose base I 
stood. But time pressed, and we had a long ride to our 
resting-place for the night, so there was nothing for it but 
to bid farewell to those unequalled ruins. 

We quitted them by the same long, gloomy, arched 
passage, and turning away to the right, followed the stream 
of water for some distance, passing by walled enclosures with 
sycamore and fig trees shading our path. Shortly after this 
we passed the quarry near the slope of the hills, from whence 
the enormous stones forming part of the great platform of 
the temple were hewn. One huge block is seen still attached 
to the rock on which it rests, but otherwise all ready for 
removal. It is 68 feet long and 14 feet deep, and has been 
computed to weigh more than 1,100 tons. From this point, 
and also at one or two other slight eminences, you get fine 
views of the ruins of Baalbec, more especially of the grand 
outline of those six columns which proudly tower over the 
surrounding mass. We also gained an extensive view of the 
great plain of Buk&a, with its snow-clad mountain chains on 
either side. 

This plain is a vast expanse of partially-cultivated soil, de- 
void of trees, fences, or other distinguishing objects, and much 
of it is free to any wanderers who choose to bring their flocks 
to pasture on its scanty herbage. In fact but few families or 
communities do dwell on it, from whom the tax which the 
peasants pay to the Government is with difiSculty wrung. 
Aft^id of the exactions of their hard masters, the wretched 

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wanderers make but slight efforts to improve the soil, and 
there are no roads by which their grain could be taken to 
Beyrout or other towns for sale. The track from Baalbec 
to the diligence road between Damascus and Beyrout is a fair 
enough one for horses or camels in dry weather, but in time 
of rain it must degenerate into a muddy swamp in most 
places. As we rode on, however, we .observed the soil grew 
richer and was more cultivated, especially near the villages 
which dot the mountain slopes. Still no trees were to be 
seen, and a decided necessity for irrigation was observable 
in the cracked, parched-looking soil. 

Eeached Muallakah, a prosperous village, situated^t the 
opening of a mountain ravine, through which flows a con- 
siderable tributary of the Litany. A good many poplar trees 
skirt the river's banks, and some orchards are to be seen, 
while, apparently, the grain crops flourish here. There are 
some decent-looking shops in the town, and the inhabitants 
have a decidedly more respectable appearance than any we 
have yet seen in the Lebanon. They are dressed in excellent 
articles of attire, some of them having a semi-European look 
about them, probably acquired by their intercourse, through 
the French road, with Beyrout. A mile from this, higher 
up the glen, is Zahleh, the largest town in the Lebanon, con- 
taining a Christian population of more than 10,000 persons, 
being almost the entire number of its inhabitants. The ap- 
proach to this town is through a picturesque glen, and its 
environs are covered with vineyards^ while the houses them- 
selves are clean-looking, whitewashed, substantial structures. 

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But the inhabitants of Zahleh have the reputation of law- 
lessness, and during the massacres of 1860 they sustained 
much loss and injury from the Druses. 

From this point we were now proceeding through the best 
known and most traversed route of the Lebanon district. 
This country, with the valleys on both sides of the gi-eat 
Lebanon chain of mountains, and more especially the moun- 
tainous district around Beyrout, is the principal dwelling- 
place of those two powerful sects, the Druses and the Maron- 
ites. The Druses are a remarkable body in many respects, 
industrious in peace, fierce and implacable in war, but full of 
energy, and strongly attached to their mountain fastnesses. 
They profess a religion which they jealously guard from in- 
vestigation by strangers, compounded of Judaism, Unitarian- 
ism, and Mohammedanism. Their religious rites date from 
the eleventh century, and have their origin in an Egyptian, 
the EMlif H&kim of the Patimite dynasty. One of his 
followers, a Persian named Ed-Derazy, who had settled in 
Egypt, was driven out of that country, and carried his half- 
crazy doctrines to Syria, where he found ready proselytes. 
Other disciples continued the work of propagation, and a 
Persian called Hamza is considered by the Druses to be 
the virtual founder of their faith. They believe in the unity 
of God, and that He appears to certain privileged men, who 
act as his ministers, and that when this system of belief has 
become triumphant in the world, then Hdtim shall be owned 
as sovereign of the universe. The doctrine of transmigration 
of souls has also been adopted by them, but the rigid system of 

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secrecy adopted makes it difficult to gain reliable information 
on these points. They are divided into two classes of eccle- 
siastics or Okkals, and JuhhflJs or seculars. The former live 
very strictly and abstemiously, and wear a distinguishing 
white dress. They are the advisers of the nation in critical 
times, and have periodical councils, when delegates firom 
each district discuss matters affecting the whole tribe. This 
powerful tribe of mountaineers chiefly reside in the southern 
ranges of Lebanon, around Hermon and some villages of the 
plain, and their entire numbers are little short of 80,000 souls. 
The Maronites are so called from Maron, a monk re- 
nowned for his sanctity, who flourished in the sixth century ; 
whose followers, being condemned for heresy at the great 
council of Constantinople in the year 681, fled for refuge to the 
strongholds of the Lebanon, north of Beyrout. Li 1180 they 
acknowledged the supremacy of the Church of Eome, though 
they retained their own patriarch, and mass is celebrated in 
the Syriac language. The Sacrament is administered in both 
elements, and the candidates for holy orders are permitted 
to marry before ordination. The patriarch resides usually 
at the convent of Eanobin, not &r from the world-famed 
cedars of Lebanon, and he is elected by the bishops, subject 
to the Pope's approval. Porter states that there are eighty- 
two convents in the Lebanon belonging to the Maronites, 
containing about 2,000 monks and nuns, and enjoying an 
annual revenue of 70,000/. sterling. Their entire community 
is estimated at 220,000 souls, but they are ignorant and 
troublesome, and the clergy fanatical and badly instructed. 

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* The Maronites/ farther says Porter, * are brave, indepen- 
dent, and indastrious ; and their native mountains, though 
steep and ruf^ged, are the garden of Syria. But they are 
illiterate and superstitious, and their clergy exercise an al- 
most unlimited sway over them both in politics and religion/ 
Since the time that he wrote this, the numbers above men- 
tioned, especially of the clergy and convents, have largely 
increased, and the hereditary enmity between them and the 
Druses, cxmningly fomented by the Turkish Government, is 
as deep as ever. 

We joined the Beyrout road at Stoorar, the half-way station 
for the diligence company, where they have a number of sheds 
for the accommodation of their horses. There is also a rather 
poor-looking h6tel, where travellers stop while arrangements 
are being made by the landlord to forward them to Baalbec. 
He has a small house also at the latter place, where tourists 
can pass the night, provided each one does not mind sharing 
a room with three or four others, as the establishment is of 
a limited description. We passed the village of Kubb Elias, 
surrounded by its green orchards, and a little distance off is 
seen an old castle, said to have once been the stronghold of 
a Druse prince. As we wound up the long zigzag road, which 
climbs by a gradual ascent the steep sides of this chain of the 
Lebanon, I could not help reflecting with sorrow that we 
had passed our last night under the canvas tent which had 
so long sheltered us, and that our wanderings in the East 
were so rapidly drawing to a close. Very soon would we 
exchange the freedom of the tent life and the exhilarating 

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freshness of the mountain breezes for the crowded city and 
stifling railway carriage. No longer would we need the 
careful guidance of our faithful Achmet, who, on his part, 
fully reciprocated our kindly feelings, and whose remarkable 
unselfishness and liberality we amply acknowledged in the 
testimonial which we gave him. 

The road, along whose smooth surface we slowly toiled 
under a burning sun, is admirably macadamised and kept in 
excellent repair, with the bridges, parapet walls, mile-stones 
and station houses all in good condition. Shortly after 
9 A.H. we reached the summit of the range, and a grand 
view presently broke upon our gaze. For three hours 
previously we had been surveying the long plain of Bukda, 
with its green tracts of cultivated land and streamlets 
fringed with poplars fertilising the rich soil, while the vast 
snow-clad outline of Hermon formed a noble background to 
the picture. Now a totally diflferent prospect lay before us. 
Thousands of feet below us, where the brilliant green groves 
which skirt the shore near Beyrout suddenly cease, the broad 
blue Mediterranean is seen stretching far away to the western 
horizon. It is one deep, waveless, azure expanse, flecked with 
many a white sail, and light fleecy clouds cast a momentary 
shadow on the serene surface of that tideless sea. A long 
white sinuous strip of sand fringes the rich green plains 
which border the sea for some leagues south of Beyrout, 
and to the north of the city the dark promontory near the 
Dog Eiver sends its rocky mass across the sparkling strand. 
The city itself, nestling under the vividly green slopes of the 

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Lebanon, and thence spreading on to the beach, is a beautiful 
object, with its numerous white villas, mosques and minarets, 
public buildings and convents, all surrounded and embowered 
amidst mulberry groves, vineyards, cypresses, and palm trees. 
Then at our feet is a deep broad valley, darkly clothed in 
many parts with pine forests, while an occasional white village 
is seen to peep forth amidst the foliage far down in the 
depths of the glen. And in our immediate vicinity were the 
noble peaks of the Lebanon, many of them seamed with 
shaggy, bleak, and precipitous gorges, along whose cavernous 
depths the winter torrents sweep in their resistless career. 

From this point the descent upon Beyrout is long and 
devious, but the scenery grew richer as we proceeded, and 
now many groups of people from the city and villages around 
added life and picturesqueness of costume to the scene. Bey- 
rout is a prosperous city, the principal commercial place and 
seaport in Syria, with a population of over 60,000, one-third 
of whom are Mohammedans. It has an extensive commerce 
with Europe and the Levant, but its imported goods are 
chiefly for Damascus, the new road having given a great 
impetus to this trade. Its harbour greatly needs enlarge- 
ment and improvement, but the bay affords excellent anchor- 
age for large steamers, some of which are generally to be 
seen riding at anchor, waiting to convey passengers to various 
ports in the Mediterranean and elsewhere. Several of the 
principal steamboat companies plying from this to Constan- 
tinople, Athens, Trieste, Marseilles, Malta, Alexandria, and 
other cities, have agencies here ; and there are regular packets 

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also for London, Liverpool, the Clyde, and sundry European 
ports. There are also banks, European mercantile houses, 
and consulates of all the chief powers, and Beyrout may be 
considered the principal commercial entrepdt in Syria. 

This prosperous seaport was well known in the annals of 
ancient history as Berytus, and is supposed to have been 
founded by the Phoenicians. It is first mentioned in history 
in the year 140 B.C., when it was destroyed by a usurper, 
called Tryphon. On being taken by the Eomans, it was 
colonised by soldiers from two of their famous legions, and 
afterwards Herod the Great ruled there for a season, while 
Titus reposed here after the destruction of Jerusalem. 
Agrippa adorned the city with some fine buildings, theatres, 
baths, and a circus in which gladiatorial exhibitions were 
held. It became also a seat of learning, and its students of 
law and philosophy numbered some names eminent for their 
erudition. Unfortunately, in the year 551, the city was de- 
stroyed by an earthquake, and its inhabitants dispersed to 
Sidon and elsewhere for a time. Then came the Mohamme- 
dans, who vn:ought havoc amidst its buildings and institu- 
tions, until, in 1110, the city was captured by the Crusaders 
under Baldwin, and became the seat of a bishopric. The 
Christians held Beyrout, with the exception of a brief occu- 
pation by Saladin, till their power was overthrown in 1291. 
For a long period Beyrout was of little importance, but about 
the beginning of the seventeenth century a famous Druse 
prince rebuilt the city and made it the seat of his govern- 
ment. In 1840 the city was bombarded by an English fleet. 

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for the purpose of driving out the troops of Ibrahim Pasha, 
when the walls and a few houses were destroyed, but no very 
material damage done. 

Silk is the great article of export from Beyrout, and it 
derives its beautifully green environs from the quantities of 
mulberry trees which in all directions clothe the declivities 
and heights surrounding the city. Besides these, many 
olives, vines, cypresses, and even palms are seen amidst the 
various trees, which impart much richness to the landscape, 
and the lofty mountains, that slope up like a vast amphi- 
theatre, have many picturesquely-wooded glens and dark 
pine forests to reward the lover of Alpine scenery. Many 
beautiful rides can be enjoyed in the vicinity of Beyrout, and 
scenery of a magnificent description invites the footsteps of 
the pedestrian or the student of natural history. There are 
also numerous antiquities within a day's easy excursion ; 
and, should the traveller wish to make a very interesting 
tour (though this involves at least a week's time), he might 
ride to the Cedars through some noble mountain passes. 

There ave several admirable educational, charitable and 
religious institutions in Beyrout, the principal of which are 
of American foundation. The Syrian Protestant College is 
under the supervision of certain American philanthropists, 
who have entire charge of its funds ; but the whole local 
arrangements are directed by a board of managers, consist- 
ing of American and British missionaries resident in the 
East. It is conducted upon evangelical Protestant principles, 
but is open to young men of all Eastern sects, who must, of 

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course, conform to the regulations of the college. Modem 
languages, literature of Arabia, natural and moral sciences, 
mathematics, Biblical literature, medicine, jurisprudence, 
and other branches of learning are all taught, and the 
number of students who avail themselves of this admirable 
institution is little short of 100. Although no formal 
efforts at proselytism are attempted, the various instructors 
endeavour, when occasion offers, to inculcate the truths of 
Christianity, and the Bible is in constant use for instruction 
in history and morality. Boarders must attend morning and 
evening worship and Bible classes for instruction in the 
Scriptures. Special attention is given to the medical de- 
partment, which has attracted much notice, and is presided 
over by earnest and able men. 

The British Syrian Schools were founded in 1860, mainly 
through the energy and devotion shown by Mrs. Thomson, 
whose noble labours are well known. She roused much 
sympathy in England, and through the efforts of zealous 
Christian teachers, the institution was the means of doing 
incalculable good by its normal and day schools, infant 
and elementary schools, and other means of instruction. 
The lamented and untimely death of Mrs. Thomson was a 
great blow to the work, but it has since been carried on by 
those who were inspired by her illustrious example. Besides 
these, there are the schools established in connection with 
the Church of Scotland, where last year 170 boys and 60 
girls of all denominations assembled to receive excellent 
instruction from competent teachers. Religious instruction 

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is also conscientiously given under the supervision of the 
Eev. Mr. Robertson, of the Church of Scotland, whose sincere 
courtesy, accomplishments, and indefatigable resolution are 
well known. There are three teachers who speak English, 
and are well qualified to keep order and impart instruction, 
and their salary is augmented by certain fees which the 
scholars pay. A visit to these and other charitable in- 
stitutions of Beyrout will be found both instructive and 

We rode to the New Oriental Hotel, which is built close 
to the seashore, and commands fine views over the bay and 
the noble mountain ranges surrounding Beyrout. There 
are some pleasant, airy balconies, where, sheltered from the 
sun's overpowering rays, you can enjoy the fresh breezes 
coming from the mountains, the loftiest of which, Jebel 
Sunnin, is capped with snow. Found sundry friends in the 
hotel, among them one from Scotland whom I had last seen 
at Thebes 5 indeed, it was with considerable difficulty that 
we got accommodation, as the hotel was so ftdl. There are 
special days on which there is a rush of passengers for the 
Constantinople and Marseilles steamers, and it is no easy 
matter sometimes to secure a berth in the vessel, unless you 
write some days before for places. The dinner table that 
evening was quite ftdl, and we recognised several faces which 
we had observed at Damascus and other stations of our tour 
through the Holy Land. 

I started early on the following day for an expedition to 
the famous * Dog River,' Nahr-el-Kelb, accompanied by the 

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Re7. Mr. Robertson and the Rev. Dr. Nelson, of Greenock. 
From Mr. Robertson's seven years' residence in Beyrout, he 
is familiar with all the rides and places of interest in its 
vicinity, and he is most kind in aiding those of his fellow- 
conntrymen, or indeed visitors of any nationality, who may 
make his acquaintance. We rode through the tortuous, 
dusty streets of the town, and then along the smooth sear- 
shore, passing numerous small gardens of mulberry and vine 
trees. Crossed over the Beyrout river by a bridge of seven 
arches, and from it a good view is obtained of the green and 
fertile environs of this part of the city. The stream is 
tolerably full at this season, but in summer it dwindles into 
a mere rill of water, and its banks are prettily wooded in 
most places. From this point we continued for several miles 
along the soft sandy beach, until we came to some rocks, 
which obliged us to make a slight detour. About two hours 
and a half after leaving Beyrout we reached the entrance to 
the Dog River, through which we waded, and put up our 
horses at a rustic cafS, pleasantly situated on the banks of 
the stream. 

The river is a rushing stream of clear water, some SO or 
40 yards broad, which issues from a deep gorge in the 
mountains of Lebanon. Its banks are rocky and precipitous, 
but wherever a foothold could be gained there are mulberry 
trees growing, whose delicate green colouring adds a most 
pleasing feature to the scenery. An old bridge of three 
arches, the centre one having a considerable span, crosses 
the river a little way above its mouth, and standing on it 

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you get the best view of the tranquil and picturesque scene. 
Proceeding along the left-hand bank of the river, as you 
ascend, an ancient aqueduct will be observed, partly cut 
out of the rock and partly supported on arches that are 
thickly overgrown with long pendent streamers of ferns, 
creepers and mosses, down which the water trickles with a 
pretty effect. We did not attempt to follow the course of 
the river farther, but returned to the place where we left 
the horses, and greatly enjoyed our alfresco lunch with the 
rushing stream making music in our ears. Affcer an interval 
of rest, during which we indulged in some of the cigarettes 
which our kind guide made up with the peculiar skill 
and rapidity only acquired by a long residence in the very 
home of the soothing weed, we started to visit the sculptured 
tablets on the rocks which have excited so much learned 

Those inscriptions are hewn in the rocky banks of the 
river, where an ancient road runs along the base of the cliffs, 
in some parts paved with large stones, and at other places 
hollowed out of the solid rock. At the highesfc part of the 
road, where it crosses a ledge of rock overhanging the sea, 
is a rough structure of majsonry, with an old column lying 
beside it, on which may be noticed a Latin inscription. 
Between this point and the bridge the principal inscriptions 
are to be found, and they are contained in tablets cut in the 
face of the cliff to a depth of 2 or 3 inches, so as to 
leave a rude frame or scroll round each. There , are nine 
tablets altogether, six of which are considered to bo of 

B B 

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Assyrian and three of Egyptian origin, and they are of 
various sizes. Human figures and hieroglyphics are seen in 
nearly all of them, some of the sculptured representations 
being almost of life size, and the head-dress, peculiar shaped 
beards, and symbolical figures which may be observed, leave 
little doubt of the authenticity of those strange remains. The 
well-known oval of Bameses the Great has been discovered 
on one of the Egyptian tablets, and in another the monarch 
is presenting an offering to the Sun god. Be. Lepsius says 
that the three Egyptian tablets have the oval of Bameses 
the Great. We read in Herodotus that Bameses, or Sesostris, 
as he was called, in his expedition to Asia Minor actually left 
behind him certain figures as monuments of his exploits. 
Layard considers the Assyrian tablets to be the work of Sen- 
nacherib, whose army was destroyed with so mysterious and 
terrible an overthrow. Dr. Bobinson, however, does not 
accept this view of the matter, as he thinks it unlikely that 
one monarch would cut six distinct tablets in so com- 
paratively unimportant a spot during a single expedition. 
Porter, whose information, as usual, is ample and clearly set 
forth, takes a similar view to that of Bobinson, and strongly 
recommends all scholars and travellers to endeavour to throw 
light upon these strange inscriptions. There is a Latin in- 
scription, not far from these tablets, stating that the road was 
made in the reign of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, whose title, 
Germanicus, is specially introduced here. During the occupa- 
tion of the country by the French army in 1860, advantage 
was taken of a vacant part on one of these tablets to cut 

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an inscription commemorating their stay in the neighbour- 

On returning to the hotel, I took a stroll through the 
city, paid a yisit to the English bankers, Messrs. Heald & 
Co., and arranged matters for starting on Monday in the 
Constantinople stepmer. Made a few purchases of jewellery 
and the pretty oriental trinkets which please friends at home, 
and enjoyed the luxury of a bathe in a tumble-down, rickety, 
wooden bathing station, from which you can get out to the 
waters of the bay. The bazaars of Beyrout are by no means 
specially tempting so far as I saw ; indeed, the chief business 
appears to be transacted in semi-European shops. All the 
streets near the shore are thronged with a motley crowd of 
natives of diflferent European and Asiatic countries, and the 
quays have the usual look of a busy seaport frequented by the 
listless crowds of idlers who congregate in such places. One 
agreeable feature that I noticed in Beyrout was the stands a 
the comers of some of the streets, where delicious cooling 
drinks are sold at a moderate rate to passers-by. A large 
lump of half-frozen snow is fixed on an upright stick near 
the circular basin of water, and when you have selected a 
glass of one of the various beverages, such as lemonade 
sherbet, raspberry, or cherry syrups, &c., two or three slices o 
the snow are mixed with the liquid, giving it a delightfully 
cool flavour. 

Next day, Sunday, April 21, was very warm and sunny, the 
view from the shady balcony of the hotel being especially clear 
and beautiful. This was our last entire day in Syria, as on 

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the following afternoon we set sail for Constantinople. We 
had parted the previous evening with our muhharis, and gave 
them the usual douceur expected on such occasions. Our 
preparations for returning to civilisation were nearly com- 
plete, and the multifarious purchases duly stowed away in 
the recesses of our portmanteaus. Attended service in the 
church of the American Mission, where a congregation of 
about 100 had the privilege of listening to an admirable 
discourse by the Rev. Dr. Nelson. There is an organ in 
the church and a tolerably efficient choir, and a good many 
native Christians form part of the congregation. The Rev, 
Mr. Robertson officiates there as a rule, and the best spirit is 
evinced by the various Protestant denominations in their 
intercourse with one another. It was too hot to walk 
about much that day, so I found the cool verandahs of the 
hotel more to my taste, and with a book for a companion 
spent a long time there, enjoying the balmy breezes wafted 
across mulberry groves and vineyards from the snowy 

Early on the following day the hotel was in a great 
bustle, for nearly the whole of its inmates were departing 
by the steamer. Signer Basouli, the smiling and courteous 
landlord, had enough to do in the way of establishing order 
among the travellers, dragomans, muhharis, guides, and others 
who invariably throng the lobbies of an Eastern hotel on such 
occasions. As usual, we had to go to our steamer, the * Venus,' 
one of the Austrian Lloyd's handsome vessels, in a small 
boat — always an uncomfortable proceeding, and somewhat 

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trying to the temper. On board there was of course the 
usual bustle and confusion, the shouting of boatmen wrang- 
ling about payment, the cries of the sailors hoisting luggage 
into the hold, the vociferations of ship's officers, the Babel of 
tongues among passengers of various nationalities, the blow- 
ing of steam, rattling of chain cables, the ringing of bells, 
warning those returning to shore to be off — ^all the turmoil 
which is so familiar to your seasoned cosmopolitan traveller. 
In the midst of this tumult we took leave of our excellent 
dragoman, with sincere expressions of regret at parting with 
him, and warm wishes for his future success in his career ; 
and for a tour such as ours, I should have no hesitation in 
commending any friends to the care of Achmet El Pichawi. 
That evening, when, the silver moonbeams were shedding 
their calm lustre upon the waters of beautiful Beyrout, 
we were many miles away, enjoying the indescribably balmy 
atmosphere of a tranquil oriental night. 

And now it only remains for me to sum up in a few closing 
words this imperfect record of my tour in the East. To my 
travelling companions I have to offer earnest thanks for the 
kindliness, honhommie, and thorough reliability which marked 
their conduct, and I trust that the friendship so auspiciously 
begun may long continue. In a tour such as we took, it is 
a very trite observation to make, that matters by no means 
invariably go on smoothly ; indeed, it is popularly considered 
a most severe test of friendship to undertake such an expedi- 
tion, even with your most intimate associates. As for the 
tour itself, it is one that I can recommend in the strongest 

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terms, more especially that portion which embraces the 
peninsula of Sinai. The ^rand scenery and sablime associa- 
tions of those wonderful granite peaks made an indelible 
effect upon me, and I feel very grateful to God that we 
were enabled to make the entire journey in perfect safety, 
and without the smallest injury to our health. Many people 
will be disappointed at the impressions which a tour in the 
Holy Land leases on them, for in the most sacred sites the 
idolatrous 8ux>erstition of a scheming priesthood has done its 
utmost to drive away from the minds of all thoughtful men 
those ardent feelings of feith which they fondly trusted 
would have been confirmed and intensified. Still it was our 
inestimable privilege to tread on the vine-clad slopes of 
Judsea and the silver strand of Galilee, in the very footsteps 
of Our Blessed Saviour, and to stand on the summit of 
that tremendous granite mountain where Jehovah Himself 
condescended to talk with sinful man. 




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" There is a good deal of iastructiaa to 

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'* Thoroughly readable and worth read- 


Ediiioo, Devised and corrected, with an Introductory Dissertation on recent 
€2iaiiges and events. Crown 8va 7x. 6d, 

and clever study on the 
higher politics.— <7Mar- 

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clearly what the efficient part of the Eng- 
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REPUBLICAN SUPERSTITIONS. IHustnited by the Political Histoiy 
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"A very able exposure of the most 
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Banking. Crown 8vo. 6s. 

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" In point of style it is well executed, 
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** llie effect of reading the seven tales 
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some seven more of the same kind." — Pa/i 
Mall Gazette. 

*' The tales are given throu|:hout in the 
quaint version of the eariiest English trans- 
lators, and in the introduction to each will 

be found much curious infonnation as to 
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met at uie hands of later transcribierB or 
imitators, and much tasteful appreciation 
of the varied sources from whence they are 
extracted. . . . We doubt not that Mr. 
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itself to many of bis readers, and induce 
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Based on the official reports of the German Artillery. By Captain 
Hofibauer, Instructor m the German Artillery and Engineer SchooL 
Translated by Oapt. B. O. HoUist. 

This history gives a detailed account of 
the movements of the German artillery in 
the three days' fighting to the east aad 
west of Metz, which resulted in paralyzing 
the army under Marshal Baanine, and its 
subsequent surrender. The action of the 
batteries with reference to the other arms 
is clearly explained, and the valuable maps 
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viduaL batteries at each stage of the con- 
tests. Tables are also supplied in the 

Appendix, furnishing full details as to the 
number of killed and wounded, expen- 
diture of anununition, &c. The campaign 
of 1870 — 71 having demonstrated the vm.' 
portance of artiUery to an detent which 
has not previously been conceded to it, 
thi> woix forms a valuable part of the 
literature of the campaign, and will be 
read with interest not oaly by members of 
the regular but also by those of the aux- 
iliary forces. 

METZ. By Von Schell. Translated by Captsun £. O. HollUt. 
Demy 8vo. Uniform with the other volumes in the Series, Price lor. 6d. 

Captain Hug^ Helvig. Translated by Captain G. S. Schwabe. 

With 5 large Maps. Demy 8vo. Uniform with the other Books in the 


From an Abridged Edition compiled by Captain Illia Wornovits, of 
the General Staff, on the Tactical Regulations of the Austrian Army, and 
prefaced by a General Sketch of the Qjganisation, &c., of the Country. 
Translated by Captain "W. S. Cooke. Crown 8vo, limp cloth. 

VON GOEBEN. By Major Von Schell. Translated by Col. C. 
H. Von "Wright. Four Maps. Demy 8vo. 91. 

History oftht Organisation, Equipment, and War Services of 

Published Official and other Records, and various private sources, by 
M^jor Francis "W. Stubbs, Royal (late Bengal) Artillery. Vol. I. 
will contain War Services. The Second Volume will be published 
separately, and will contain the History of the Organisation and 
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Plans. {Preparing. 

6$, Cornhill ; 6-12, Paternoster Row, London, 

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Hon. A. Anson, V.C, M.P, Crown 8vo, Price Sixpence. 

Col. the Hon. A. Anson. Cro\vn 8vo. Sewed. Price One Shilling. 

VICTORIES AND DEFEATS. An Attempt to explain the Causes which 
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"A delightful militaiy classic, and what ' warrant him that let that bit be ever so 

is more, a most useful one. The young | small it will sdve him material for an 

officer should have it always at hand to hour's thinking. ' — Umted Service Gazette, 

•pen anywhere and read a bit, and we | 


Instructor of Tactics at the Military College, Neisse. Translated by 
Colonel Edward Newdigate. Crown 8vo, limp cloth. Price 2j. 6</. 

" This work has met with special attention in our 9XXDy.**—MUitariH Wochtnblatt, 

mann Von "Wartensleben, Chief of the Staff of the First Army. 
Translated by Colonel C. H. von Wright. In demy 8vo. Uniform 
with the above. Price 91. 

" Very clear, simple, yet eminently in- i " The work is based on the official war 
stnictive^ is this history. It Is not over- I clocument:r— it is especially valuable — the 
laden with aseless details, is written in ' narrative is remarkably vivid and interest- 
good taste, and possesses the inestimable I ing. Tivo well-executed maps enable the 
value of being in great measure the record ! reader to trace out the scenes of General 
of operations actually witnessed by the j Manteuflel's operations." — AWtf/ and 
author, supplemented by official docu- Military Gazette, 
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AND SKETCHING. Compiled for Non- Commissioned Officers and 
Soldiers of all Arms. By Lieut. C. B. H. Vincent, Royal Welsh 
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By Major W. Von Schereff. Translated from the German by Col. 
Lumley Orahaxn. Price *js, dd. 

" Major Von Schereff 's * Studies in Tac- 
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the thoughtful study — of every military 
man. The subject 01 the respective advan- 
tages of attacK and defence, and of the 
methods in which each form of battle 
should be carried out under the fire of 

modem arms is exhaustively and admir- 
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sider it 10 be decidedly superior to any 
work which has hitherto appeared in Eng- 
lish upon this all-important subject." — 

Captain A. Von Boguslawski. Translated by Colonel Liimley 
Qraham, late i8th (Royal Irish) Regiment. Demy 8vo. Uniform with 
the above. Price 7/. 

^ "Major Boguslaw&ki's tactical deduc- 
tions from the war are, tliat infantry still 
preserve their superiority over cavalry, 
that open order must henceforth be the 
main principles of all drill, and that the 
chassepot is the best of all small arms for 
precision. ... We must, without delay, 
unpress brain and forethouj^ht into the 

British Service ; and we cannot commence 
the ^ood work too soon, or better, than by 
placmg the two books (* The Operations of 
the German Armies' and 'Tactical Deduc- 
tions') we have here criticised, in every 
military library, and introducing there as 
class-books in every tactical schooL*'— 
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A Brief Description of its Organisation, of the different Branches of the 
Service and their * Role * in War, of its Mode of Fighting, &c. By a 
Prussian General. Translated from the German by Col. Edward 
ITewdigate. Demy 8vo. 5x. 

*»• The authorship of this book vrsj& erroneously ascribed to the reno\i'ned General von 
Moltke, but there can be little doubt that it was written under his immediate inspiratk>n. 

With Large Official Map. From the Journals of the Head-quarters Staff, 
by Mcgor Wm. Blume. Translated by B. M. Jones, ilajor 20th 
Foot, late Professor of Military History, Sandhurst* Demy Svo. Price 9.r. 

"The book is of absolute necessity to the 
military student. . . . The work is one 
of high merit." — Umted Set vice Gazette. 

"The work of translation has been well 
done. In notes, prefaces, and introductions, 
much additional information has been 
given." — Athemeum. ^ 

" ITie work of Major von Blume in its 
English dress forms the most valuable 

addition to our stock of works upon the 
war that our press has put forth. Major 
Blume writes with a clear conciseness much 
wanting in many of his country's historians. 
Our space forbids our doing more than 
commending it earnestly as the most au- 
thentic and instructive narrative of the 
second section of the war that has yet 
appeared." — Saturday Review. 

AND FEBRUARY, 1871. Compiled from the Official War Docu- 
ments of the Head-quarters of the Southern Army. By Count Hermann 
Von Wartensleben. Colonel in the Prussian General Staff. Translated 
by. Colonel C. H. von "Wright. Demy 8vo, with Maps. Uniform 
with the above. Price 6j. 

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HASTY INTRENCHMENTS. By Colonel A. Brialxnont. Trans- 
lated by Lieutenant Charles A. Empson, B.A. Demy 8vo. Nine 
Plates. Price 6/. 

"A Tflduable contributS<m to military 
literature."— ^ /^«ttr«*«». 

" In seven short chapters it gives plain 
directions for forminff shelter -trenches 
with the best method of carrying the neces- 
sary tools, and it oflfiers practical Qlustrations 
of tne use (^ hasty btrenchments on the field 
of battle. ** — United Service Magasme. 

"It supplies that which our own text- 

books give but imperfectly, ^ 
to how a position can best be i 

viz., hints as 
position can best be stren^ened 
by m^ns ... of such extemp<msed in- 
trenchments and batteries as can be thrown 
up by infantry in the space of four <»■ fiv« 
hours . . . deserves to oecome a standard 
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" Clearly and critically written." — *K<r/- 
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Vemoie. An authorised and accurate Translation by Lieut^iant 
H. J. T. Hildyard, 71st Foot. Parts I. and II. Demy 8vo. Price 7j. 

%* General Bbauchamp Walker says 
of this work : — " I recommend the first 
two numbers of Colonel von Verdy's 
' Studies ' to the attentive perusal of my 
brother officers. They supply a want 
which I have often felt dunng my service 
in this country, namely, a minuter tactical 
detail of the minor (^xrations of the war 
than any but the most observant and for- 

tunately-placed staff-officer is in a position 
to give. I have read and re-read them 
very carefully, I hope with profit, certainly 
tnth great interest, and believe that prac- 
tice, m the sense of these ' Studies,' would 
be a valuable preparation for manoeuvres 
on a more extended scale.** — Berlin, June, 

Captains. By Captain P. B. P. Wliite, ist W. I. Regiment. 8vo, 
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CAVALRY FIELD DUTY. By Major-General Von Minis. Trans- 
lated by Captain Frank S. Bussell, 14th (King's) Hussars. Crown 
8vo, limp cloth, is. td. 

%* This is the text-book of instruction 
in the German cavalry, and comprises all 
the details connected with the military 
duties of cavalry soldiers on service. The 
translation is inade from a new edition, 
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duced consequent on the experiences of 
the late war. The great interest that stu- 
dents feel in all the German military 
methods, will, it is believed, render this 
book especially acceptable at the present 

DISCIPLINE AND DRILL. Four Lectures delivered to the London 
Scottish Rifle Volunteers. By Captain S. Flood Page. A New and 
Cheaper Edition. Price ix. 

"One of the best-known and coolest- 
headed of the metropolitan regiments, 
whose ac^utant moreover has lately pub- 
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addressed by him to the men of his corps," 

** The very useful and interesting work. 
— Volunteer Service Gazette, 

65, Cornhill; 6r* 12, Paternoster Row, London, 

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5 Volumes, in 2 Volumes, demy 8vo. price 2%s, 

A Reprint of the first 

These yolumes contain many quaint and 
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S. Y. S., of "The Boar, Saddk, Spur, 
and Spear," &c, &c.— Capt. Morris, of the 
Bombay Army ; as well as descriptions of 
Hog Hunts, Fox Hunts, Lion Himts, 
Tiger Hunts, and Cheeta Hunts; ac- 
counts of Shooting Excursions for Snipe, 
Partridges, Quai^^ Toucan, Ortolan, and 

Wild Fowl ; interesting details of Pigeon 
Matches, Cock Fights, Horse, Tattoo, and 
Donkey Races : descriptions of the Orif^in, 
Regulations, and Uniforms of Huntmg 
CluU; Natural HistcMy of rare Wild 
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Horses ; and Memoirs and Anecdotes of 
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THE EUROPEAN IN INDIA. A Hand-book of Practicallnfonnation 
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Routes, Time for Departure, Indian Climate, &c. By Bdxnund C. P. 
Hull. With a Medical Guide for Anglo-Indians. Being a Com- 
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** Full of all sorts of useful information 
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*' One of the most valuable books ever 
published in India — valuable for its sound 
information, its careful array of pertinent 
facts, and its sterling common sense. It is 

a publisher's as well as an author's ' hit,' 
for it supplies a want which few [>ersons 
may have discovered, but which everybody 
will at once recognise when once the con- 
tents of the book have been mastered. 
The medical part of the work is invalu- 
able." — Calcutta Guardian. 

pendium of advice to Europeans in India, relating to the Preservation 
and Regulation of Health. By B. S. Mair, F.B.C.S.E., late Deputy 
Coroner of Madras. Reprinted, with numerous additions and corrections, 
from '* The European in India." 

Private Secretary, and for many years 
and Coorg. In I voL Demy 8vo. 

'*An admirable and^ exhaustive geo- 
graphical, political, and industrial siurvey." 

''The usefulness of this compact and 
methodical summary of the most authentic 
inforroadon rebttne to countries whose 
welfare is intimately connected with our 

Bowrine, C.S.I. , Lord Canning's 

the Chief Commissioner of Mysore 

I dr. Illustrated with Maps and 

own. should obtain for Mr. Lewin Bow- 
ring^s work a good place among treatises 
of Its V\nA.**—I)aiiy Nfws. 

" Interesting even to the general reader, 
but mpre especially so to those who may 
have a special concern in that portion of 
our Indian Empire." — Post. 

TAS-HIL UL KALAM; or, Hindustani Made Easy. By Captain 
W. B. M. Holroyd, Bengal Staff Corps, Director of Public Instruction 
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Pictures drawn from Life. By Mi^or-Gton. Sir Qeorge Le Grand 
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*'The most important contribution to 
the history of Western Indb during the 
Mutinies which has yet, in a popular 
form been made pnhlxc**—^ tArtutum, 

'* Few men more comment than hira> 
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Indian a£Lain.**'~SiaHdard, 

FOR INDIA. Edited by J. S. Laurie, of the Inner Temple, Barrister- 
at-Law; formerly H.M. Inspector of Schools, England; Assistant Royal 
Commissioner, Ireland; Special Commissioner, African Settlements; 
Director of Public Instruction, Ceylon. 

Extract from Prospectus. 

I'he Editor has undertaken to frame for 
India,— what he has been eminently suc- 
cessful in doin^ for England and her 
colonies,— a series of educational works, 
which he hopes will prove as suitable for 
the peculiar wants of the country as they 
will be consistent with the lending idea 
above alluded ta Like all beginnings, his 
present instalments are necessarily some- 
what meagre and elementary ; but be only 

awaiu official and public approval to com- 

Eletc, within a compsuatively brief period, 
is contemplated plan of a spednc and 
falriy comprehensive series of works in the 
various leading vernaculars of the Indian 
continent. Meanwhile, those on his j^enend 
catalogue may hie found suitable, m their 
present form, for use in the Anjglo-vcr- 
nacular and English schools of India. 

The foUoiving Works are iioiv ready: — 

BiBIADBR, stiff linen wrapper . 

Ditto ditto strongly bound in cloth . 

ZUBSADSR, stiff linen wrapper . 

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Ma^ and Historical Appendix, 
tracing the growth of the British 
Empire in Hindustan. 128 pp. 

In the Press, 



^STORY. in a scries of alternating 
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CURRENCY, UPON a new and extended system, embracing Values 
from One Farthing to One Hundred Thousand Pounds, and at rates pro- 
gressing, in Sixteenths of a Penny, from u. 9</. to 2J. yi. per Rupee. By 
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Limited. Royal Svo. lOf. (>d. 

•'The calculations must have entailed 
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standard one in all busuiess houses which 

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LAYS OF MANY LANDS. By a Kniglit Errant. Illustrated. Crown 8vo. 

Pharaoh Land. Wonder Land. 

Home Land. Rhine Land. 

Four Illustrations. Price 3^. (xi, 

CoNrENTS.— Seeking his Fortune.— Oluf and Stephanoff.— Whafs in a Name?— 
Contrast. — Onesta. 

A series of instructive and interesting stories for children of both sexes, each one 
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DADDY'S PET. By Mrs. Ellen Ross (Nelsie Brook). Square crown 
8vo, uniform with " Lost Gip." 6 Illustrations. 

A pathetic story of lowly life, showing the good influence of home and of child-life 
upon an uncultivated but true-hearted "navvy. " 


Each Story is independent and complete in itself. They are published in unifonn 
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I. ELSIE DINSMORE. CrowTi Svo. y. 6*/. 

II. ELSIE'S GIRLHOOD. CroMii 8va 3J, (xL 


The Stories by this author have a very high reputation in America, and of all her books 
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LOST GIP. By Hesba Stretton, Author of *' Little Meg," "Alone in 
London." Square cro\vn 8vo. Six Illustrations. Price is, 6(i. 


* Thoroughly enlists the sympathies of I /ormist. 
reader." — Church Review. "An e: . 

*FuU of tender touciies." — Noncon- j — Church 1 1 frald, 

tht reAder."— Church Revirw. "An exquisitely touching little story." 

THE KING'S SERVANTS. By Hesba Stretton, Author of "Lost 

Gip." Square crown 8vo, unifonn with "Lost Gip." 8 Illustrations. 
Price IS. td. 

Part I.— Faithful in Little. Part 1 1.— Unfaithful. P.irt II I. —Faithful in Much. 

Mac Kenna. Crown 8vo. 5^. With Six Illustrations. 

" At Ghuznee Villa." 


Henry and Amy. 

A Story of Canterbury. 

A Disastrous Trumpet Call. 

A Baptism of Fire. 

A Baptism of Frost. 
Who Shot the Kafirs. 
John Chinaman and the 

In a (Joldcn Fort. 
A Little Game. 
True to his Salt. 
Mother Moran's Enemies. 
Sooka the Sycee; or, Sea 
Horses in Reality. 

A Series of Stories of Military and Naval Adventure, related by an old Retired Officer 
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FANTASTIC STORIES. Translated from the German of Richard 
Leander, by Paulina B. Oraaville. Crown 8vo. Eight full-page 

The Ma^c Organ. 

The Invi&ible Rinzdom. 

The Knight who Grew 

Of the QuMcen who could not 
make Ginso-bread Nut^ 
and of the iCing who could 
Bot play the Jew's Harp. 

The Dreaming Beech. 

lite Little Hump-Backed 

Heavenly Music 
The Okl Hair Trunk. 

The Wishing Ring. 

The Three Princesses with 

Hearts of Glass. 
The Old Bachelor. 
Sepp's Courtship. 
Heino in the Marsh. 
Unlucky Dog and Fortune's 


These are translations of some of the best of Richard Leander's wdQ-kaown stories for 
diildrcm. The illustrations to this work are of si ng u l ar beauty and finish. 

THE AFRICAN CRUISER. A Midshipman' s Adventiu^ on the West 
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A book of real adventures among slavers on the West Coast of Africa. One chief 
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Series of *' Slarus told to a Child,'* 
Sr. (>d. 

*' Full of fresh and vigorous fancy : it is I 
worthy of the author of some of the best of | 
our modem yftnt.''*—StaMdard. \ 

By Jean Ingelow. A Second 
Fifteen Illustrations. Cloth, gilt. 

" We 13ce all the contents of the ' Little 
Wonder-Horn* very much." — Aiketunmt, 

** We recommend it with confidence."— 
Pall Mall Gazette, 

Second Edition. 

BRAVE MEN'S FOOTSTEPS. A Book of Example and Anecdote for 
Young People. By the Editor of << Men who have Risen." With 
Four Illustrations. By 0. Doyle, ^r. (>d. 

* The little volume b precisely of the 
stamp to win the favour of those who, in 

choosing a gift for a boy, would consult his 
moral development as wdl as h' 
treasure.**— /^ai/|f Telegraph, 

*A readable and instructive volume."— 

** No more wdcome book for the school- 
boy could be imagined." — Btrmingkam 
Daily Ganette, 

Third Edition. 

Six Illustrations. Ciown 8va 5j. 

*• A pretty little book which fanciful 
young persons will appreciate, and which 
win remind its readers of many a legend, and 
many an imaginary virtue attached to the 
gems they are so umd of wearing.*' — Past, 

" A series of pretty tales which are half 
fiintastic, half natural, and pleasantly 
quaint, as befits stories intended for the 
yoxxag."— Daily Telegn^k. 

Second Edition. 

George Macdonald. With Illustrations by Arthur Hughes. Crown 
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** An amusing and instructive book."— 
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" One of those charming books for which 
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Daily Review, 

" The cleverest child we know assures us 
she has read this story through five times. 
Mr. Macdonald will, we are convinced, 
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iaaiL:' —spectator- 

65, CornhUl ; 6r» 12, Paternoster Paw, London. 

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THE TRAVELLING MENAGERIE. By Cliarles Camden, Author 
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** A capital little book .... deserves a 
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*' A very attractive story.' 


PLUCKY FELLOWS. A Book for Boys. By Stephen J. Mac Kenna. 

With Six Illustrations. Crown 8vo. Price 55. dd, 

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"A thorough book for boys . . . written 1 Socitty, 


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By Jacob de Liefde. Crown 

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•'A really excellent ho(>k."—S/ecUUor. 

New Edition, 

the French of Eugene Pelletan. By Colonel E. P. De L'Hoste. 
In fcap. 8vo, with an Engraved Frontispiece. Price y, dd. 

** There is a poetical simplicity and pic- 
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tentious religion ; pure love, and the 
spectacle of a household brought up in the 

fear of the Lord "'—lUustraUd 

London News* 

'*This charming specimen of Eu^e 
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toned morality."— A'i^/^ and Querin. 

" A touching record of the struggles in 
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man,"— <SVy?A^. 

THE DESERTED SHIP. A Real Story of the Atlantic. By Cupples 
Howe^ Master Mariner. Illustrated by Townley Green. Crown 8vo. 

" Curious adventures with bears, seals, I material with which the story deals, and 
and other Arctic animals, and with scarcely will much interest boys who nave a spice 
more human Esquimaux, form the mass of | of romance in their composition."— C^ntww/. 

Camden. Illustrated. Crown 8vo. 3j. ()d. 

" Young folks may gather a good deal of 
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" Relates very pleasandy tlie history of 

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Contents : — The Philosophy of Chris- 
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